OLYMPISM & REGIONAL GAMES > SEA GAMES
In 1958, Thailand initiated the move to organise a regional sport competition among countries in peninsular south-east Asia (SEAP), along the lines of the Asian and Olympic Games. The objectives were to help improve the skills of the athletes to better their performance at international meets, besides helping to create stronger ties among these nations.
The SEAP Games was inaugurated in 1959 in Bangkok and was subsequently held on a biennial basis, in between the Asiads and the Olympiads. Member nations host the Games by rotation in alphabetical order. The six rings in the SEA Games logo represent the six founder nations -- Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Malaya (Malaysia), Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Singapore was subsequently invited to participate in the Games and made history when it won the first gold medal.
The Council decided to invite Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei to join the Federation. The three countries became members in 1977 and the Games were renamed the SEA Games. The first SEA Games (or IX SEAP) were held in Malaysia, that year. New member, Indonesia, emerged champion and in turn hosted the X Games.
The SEA Games have certainly come a long way -- from 650 athletes and twelve sports in the first Games in 1959 to nearly 4,000 participants and 29 sports in the XVII Games in 1993. It has become the region's most important and grand sports festival.