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Initial impressions of the SEA Games in Indonesia


Indonesia volunteers waiting at the airport to help international delegations to the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia's Palembang City

This is the first time the Indonesian city of Palembang has held the region's biggest sports event.

It is also the first time Lam Quang Thanh has led the Vietnamese delegation as chief of the country's contingent in Indonesia for the 26th South East Asian (SEA) Games November 11-22.

It was not hard to see how exciting it was in Palembang when we arrived in the city on Tuesday. The local Indonesians we met and worked with were filled with pride for their city. The wide streets in Palembang were decorated with flags and posters.

Thanh was deputy manager of the contingent from 1999 to 2009, but his first time as chief has made him feel both eager and anxious, he said.

Speaking to the press, Thanh said the Vietnamese sports team consists of 500 people ready to compete and win at the regional Games. He said the only problem he was experiencing was in booking air tickets for his athletes as many flights were full up for the Games.

For example, tickets for only 7 of the 10-man boxing team have been booked. However, Thanh said the organizers of the Games have tried to work with the air carrier Garuda so that everyone participating in the Games can book tickets.

The canoeing team is already practicing for their competition on the opener of the Games today (Friday).

They are expected to win the gold medal because they are in good form this year after winning three golds, two silvers and two bronze medals at another Southeast Asian conoeing contest in June.

NATIONAL FLAGS RAISING CEREMONY

The national flags of all countries participating in the 26th South East Asian Games were raised at a ceremony at town hall in Jakarta Wednesday morning. Vietnamese ambassador to Indonesia Nguyen Xuan Thuy attended the ceremony. Also in attendance were the Vietnamese contingent team manager Lam Quang Thanh and Tran Quoc Tuan, general secretary of Vietnam Football Federation, and some members of the Vietnamese team's coaching staff.

On Thursday November 10, a ceremony was held in Palembang to raise the national flags of the participating countries.

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