Harman Patil (Editor)

1997 Southeast Asian Games

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Host city  Jakarta, Indonesia
Events  440 in 34 sports
Closing ceremony  19 October 1997
Nations participating  10
Opening ceremony  11 October 1997
1997 Southeast Asian Games
Officially opened by  Suharto President of Indonesia

The 1997 Southeast Asian Games, officially known as the 19th Southeast Asian Games was a multi-sport event held in Jakarta, Indonesia from 11 October 1997 to 19 October 1997 with 440 events in 34 sports featured in the games. It was opened by President of Indonesia Suharto at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, then known as Senayan Sports Stadium.


This was the third time Indonesia hosted the games and its first since 1987. Previously, Indonesia also hosted the games for the first time in 1979. Indonesia is the fifth nation to host the Southeast Asian Games after Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and before the Philippines.

The final medal tally was led by host Indonesia, followed by neighbouring countries Thailand and Malaysia. Several World, Asian, Games and National Records were broken during the games. With little or no controversies at all, the games were deemed generally successful with the rising standard of competition amongst the Southeast Asian nations.

Development and preparation

The Organising Committee Of The 19th SEA Games Jakarta 1997 (JASOC) led by President Wismoyo Arismunandar was formed to oversee the staging of the games.


The 1997 Southeast Asian Games used a mix of new, existing and temporary venues. Some major retrofitting work were done in most venues, although they had been used to host major multi-disciplinary events such as the 1962 Asian Games and the 1987 Southeast Asian Games.

At the centrepiece of the activities was the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex, then Senayan Sports Complex which was completed on 24 July 1962. Incorporating the 120,800-seat national stadium at that time, it hosted most of the events.

A games village was not built. Instead, a "village in the city" concept saw athletes and officials housed in were housed in hotels in Jakarta and West Java. Besides being physically near to the sport venues, it was hoped that it will add vibe to both provinces and reduce post-games costs in converting a dedicated games village to other uses.

The 19th Southeast Asian Games had 35 venues for the games, 29 in Jakarta and 6 in West Java.

Logo and mascot

The logo of the 1997 Southeast Asian Games is an image of three flames, and two torch rings which represents the 5 basic foundations of The Republic of Indonesia, Pancasila. The upward flames represent the aspiration of the participating nations to achieve the highest standards at the 19th Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta. The colours of red, blue, and yellow are the basic colours of the flame. The red represents the "spirit" of the Games, the blue represents the "dynamism" of the Games and the yellow represents the "hope" the Games brings to the athletes and people of Southeast Asia. The six-ring chain, the logo of the Southeast Asian Games Federation represents the six founding nations of the Southeast Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games itself. The gold colour of the Southeast Asian Games Federation Logo represents the solidarity of the Games. The games' logo is the last logo in Southeast Asian Games history to use the 6-ring chain Federation logo before it was replaced by the 10-ring chain Federation logo at the 1999 Southeast Asian Games.

The mascot of the 1997 Southeast Asian Games is a Ramayana epic character named "Hanuman". The Ramayana, known in Java, Indonesia as Kakawin Ramayana, is an Indian epic, which spread into Southeast Asia including the Indonesian archipelago during the ancient times. It does not only exists in oral and literary works, but also serves as the underlying theme for art performances and as the inspiration for other works, such as sculptures, paintings and literature. According to the Ramayana epic, he is an ardent devotee of Rama, fighting alongside him in the face of conflict and struggle. Hanuman exist in the form of a white monkey in the Javanese adaptation of the epic. While Hanuman is not the main character in the story, he is said to have always successful in accomplishing his tasks and in a series of events, proves himself superior in speed, strength and altitude. For example, on one occasion, he undertook to travel to Lanka, known as Alengka in Indonesian and back in a day, in combat, he fought with Angada, known as Hanggada in Indonesian to determine which opponent would be worthy of serving as Rama's emissary to find Sinta, as well as in several other battles, and, in performing his duties, he was able to fly in the clouds. In Java and Bali, Hanuman is one of the characters featured in the Wayang Shadow Puppet Show, known to the locals with the title Sang Kera Pemuja Dewa Rama (The mighty devotee ape of Rama). Chosen as the games mascot, he is said to support the games motto "May The Best Man win". The cotton white colour of his body hair, a colour, traditionally symbolises sincerity and purity of heart, while the gold and black colour represents his attribute as a Wayang character. In the games, his cotton white colour represents sportsmanship spirit in which one recognises the opponent's strength and one's weakness, strive outperform others with dignity and willingness to learn, while the yellow and black colour represents quality. Overall, he represents openness, sense of brotherhood, pursuit of ambition without being ambitious, sense of humour, lowly heart in which one does not boast on one's success, enthusiasm, honesty, sportsmanship, discipline, willingness to earn humility and friendship.


A total of 31 sponsors sponsored the games.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was held at the Senayan Sports Stadium on 11 October 1997 at 19:00 (WIT). The games was declared opened by Indonesian President, Suharto.

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony was held at the Senayan Sports Stadium on 19 October 1997 at 19:00 (WIT). The SEA Games responsibilities was officially handed over to Brunei, host of the 1999 Southeast Asian Games.

Medal table

A total of 1421 medals, comprising 448 Gold medals, 432 Silver medals and 541 Bronze medals were awarded to athletes. The host Indonesia's performance was their best ever yet and emerged as overall champion of the games.


  *   Host nation (Indonesia)


1997 Southeast Asian Games Wikipedia