KUALA LUMPUR: The 9th Asean Para Games ended on an exhilarating note with a showstopper of a closing ceremony at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The glittering two-hour ceremony acknowledged all 1,421 athletes from the 11 countries who poured their hearts and souls into the six-day Games.
Malaysian paralympians redefined the boundaries of possibility and lifted the parameters of limitations to achieve the highest medal tally for the Games – 258.
Indonesia was the overall winner with 126 gold medals. Malaysia was second with 90.
Malaysians were nonetheless impressed with the grit and determination shown by the 324 para athletes, giving them a standing ovation when they marched into the stadium yesterday.
The ceremony also honoured the 4,000 selfless, dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers at the Games.
A special video was aired, giving spectators a behind-the-scenes view of the volunteers’ contributions and the special relationships they forged with the para athletes.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also made an appearance at the end of the video to thank the volunteers and athletes for the Games’ success.
Malaysian Paralympic Council president S.M. Nasarudin S.M. Nasimuddin, in his closing message, observed that this year’s Games had been extra special.
“New friendships were forged in the true Asean spirit, and this spirit of togetherness and sportsmanship reflected the theme of the KL2017 Games – “Rising Together”.
“For the first time, 16 sports were contested; para cycling made its debut, and we had the first para mascot, the ever popular Para Rimau,” he said.
Guest of honour Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi declared the Games closed at 9.10pm.
Another video was then shown of the Malaysian para athletes and their coaches, where they spoke of how their bond helped them rise above obstacles.
The Asean Para Games torch, a representation of the inclusive spirit of sports and the region’s strength in unity, was then extinguished.
Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo received the Games flags from Khairy, marking the Philippines as the official host for the 10th edition of the Games in 2019.
A concert by internationally-recognised Malaysian songbird Yuna got the athletes and spectators going wild, and a spectacular fireworks display brought KL2017 to a close.
Spectacular closing ceremony at 9th Asean Para Games