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April 15, 2021

by Marriane Solante

2021 Southeast Asian Games or also known as the 31st SEA Games will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, with the motto “For a Stronger South East Asia”. Vice-Chairman of Hanoi People’s Community Chu Xuan Dung emphasized their meeting to prepare 2021 SEA Games to take infection prevention and COVID-19 control measures from experts, scientists, and professionals to ensure the success of the event and safety of the athletes against the virus. The Opening Ceremony will be held on November 21, 2021, and the event will end on December 2, 2021. The main event will be situated in Mỹ Đình National Stadium, the centerpiece of Vietnam’s National Sports Complex. Other sports will be held in other places, Quan Ngua Sports Center and Aquatics Center are just a few other venues out of many. Several other provinces will also provide venues for other games. Bắc Ninh, Hải Dương, Hải Phòng, Hà Nam, Hòa Bình, Nam Định, Ninh Bình, Phú Thọ, Quảng Ninh, and Vĩnh Phúc are the other venues in which different sports will be held.

11 countries will be participating in this year’s SEA Games. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, East Timor, Vietnam, and Thailand are the countries that are expected to take part in this event. There will be 40 sports, mainly those that we can see at the Olympic Games. These sports are divided into 3 categories:


Category 1 – Compulsory Sports

  • Athletics
    • Track
    • Field
    • Road
    • Combined
  • Aquatics
    • Swimming
    • Diving


Category 2 – Olympic and Asian Game Sports

  • Team Sports
    • Basketball
    • Football
    • Handball
    • Volleyball
    • Beach Volleyball
    • Sepak Takraw
    • Canoeing
  • Combat Sports
    • Boxing
    • Fencing
    • Judo
    • Karate
    • Taekwondo
    • Wushu
  • Individual Sports
    • Archery
    • Badminton
    • Billiard
    • Chess
    • Cycling
    • Golf
    • Gymnastics
    • Rowing
    • Shooting
    • Table tennis
    • Tennis
    • Weightlifting

Category 3 – Regional and New Sports

  • Teams Sports

    • E-sports
  • Combat Sports

    • Muay Thai
    • Pencak Silat
    • Kickboxing
    • Vovinam
  • Individual Sports

    • Dancesport

    • Bodybuilding

    • Finswimming

    • Petanque

    • Shooting

    • Chess (Xiangqi)


For this year, Esports is included as a medal event. In 2019, the Philippines featured 6 games which were Starcraft II, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, DoTA 2, Hearthstone, Arena of Valor, and Tekken 7. For the 2021 SEA Games, 7 games were competed to be part of the Esports category. League of Legends: Wild Rift, PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, Arena of Valor, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Crossfire, and FIFA Online 4 will be featured. However, this is not yet the final list of the games for esports.

SEA Games chef de mission (CDM) Ramon Fernandez said that the national teams are waiting for when their practice can finally begin after the government’s recent announcement of stricter measures against the coronavirus outbreak. The players were supposed to start their training this month. They are also waiting for Vietnam to contact them as they have not received any contact from the organizers in Vietnam except that they [Vietnam] have pushed back some deadlines. Ramon Fernandez said that he has no idea what those deadlines mean. No CDM meetings have taken place as well. The budget approved for SEA Games is PHP 200 million, the half is for the training and the other is for travel fees.

The Philippine Olympic Committee will purchase vaccines for national athletes that will be participating in the 2021 SEA Games with the $40,000 subsidy from the Olympic Council of Asia. Getting athletes vaccinated is the priority right now as the players should be able to practice without fear of contracting covid-19 and solely focus on preparations physically and mentally.