SINGAPORE, June 16 (Bernama) -- Athletes let their hair down and partied in a huge farewell bash for the 28th SEA Games at the National Stadium in Singapore Sports Hub here tonight.
In a gala ceremony that matched the spectacular opening of the biennial Games, Singapore President Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam closed the Games which was hosted by the Republic after a 22-year lapse.
The spectators who packed the stadium applauded and cheered when flashbacks on the highlights of the Games themed 'Celebrate' was displayed on the stadium scoreboard.
The big moment for the athletes came when they marched into the stadium according to country as during the opening ceremony and most of the athletes were dressed in track suits and waving mini flags of their countries.
Fireworks soared over the stadium, mesmerizing the crowd and athletes from 11 Southeast Asian nations when Tan proclaimed the Games closed and called on the youths of Southeast Asia to gather in two years time in Kuala Lumpur for the next Games.
As the curtains gracefully came down on the Singapore SEA Games tonight, the region's attention quickly shifted to Malaysia, host of the next edition of the prestigious SEA Games in 2017.
Singapore Olympic Council president, Tan Chuan Jin, who is also Singapore's Minister of Social and Family Development, handed over the SEA Games Federation flag to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president, Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar who later passed it to Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, as the Chairman of the 2017 SEA Games Organising Committee.
He then waved it to the fans, signifying Malaysia's acceptance of the host job for the sixth time in the history of the Games.
The 2017 SEA Games marks a very special milestone in the country's history as the Games will be staged on the occasion of the country's 60th year of independence.
Following the flag presentation ceremony, the Malaysian troupe took centre stage to deliver a delightful performance entitled "Diversity in Motion".
The 10-minute performance, directed by Mohammad Arifwaran Shaharuddin was an epic that is broken down into three parts -- birth, rootedness and unity.
Accompanied by the music score titled "Lahirnya Lagenda" composed by local artist and lyricist MonoloQue, the performance told the story of the origins of an idea and an inspiration, which saw its roots in the nation and finally a clarion call to ignite the idea for a united Malaysia.
The production comprising a 52-member crew, 57 dancers and two singers, including Najwa Mahiaddin, earned the cheers of the near-capacity crowd at the National Stadium.
Almost 7,000 athletes from 11 participating countries had fought for the ultimate glory in the 36 sports contested.
The Malaysian contingent comprising 909 athletes and officials concluded their campaign on a high after surpassing the achievement in Myanmar (43) and Indonesia (58) in 2013 and 2011 respectively, with 62 gold, 58 silver and 66 bronze medals.