KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur SEA Games 2017 (KL2017) drew to a close with a jubilant Malaysia emerging as the overall champion with their best ever outing at the biennial event with 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals.
Joining Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil here tonight for the closing ceremony were athletes and officials from 11 countries who took part in the sporting extravaganza which began on Aug 19.
The Malaysian athletes fought tooth and nail for glory in the SEA Games which saw them hitting the 111-gold target on Monday before adding 34 more up to the final day of competition today, providing a birthday gift to remember as Malaysia celebrates its 60th independence anniversary tomorrow.
Second-placed Thailand clinched 72 gold, followed by Vietnam with 58, Singapore 57, Indonesia 38, the Philippines 24, Myanmar seven, Cambodia three and Laos two. Brunei went home with five silver and eight bronze and Timor Leste managed three bronze medals.
The 30th edition of the Games will be hosted by the Philippines in 2019.
"I declare the KL SEA Games closed and I call upon the youths of the Southeast Asian countries to assemble two years from now at the Philippines to celebrate the 30th SEA Games.
"May they display cheerfulness and concord so that the sports torch may be carried on with even greater eagerness, courage and honour for the good of humanity throughout the ages," a beaming Najib said when closing the KL2017 to cheers and applause from those who had packed into the 100,000-capacity stadium at 10.12pm, here tonight.
The closing ceremony, broadcast live nationwide and beyond, was also attended by the prime minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and South- East Asia Games Federation (SEAGF) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar.
Khairy, who chaired the 29th SEA Games Organising Committee, also received a special award from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a successful Games.
KL2017 was the sixth SEA Games hosted by Malaysia after 1965, 1971, 1977, 1989 and 2001. -- BERNAMA