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2001 Southeast Asian Games

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Host city  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Athletes participating  4165
Opening ceremony  8 September 2001
Nations participating  10
Events  391 in 32 sports
Closing ceremony  17 September 2001
2001 Southeast Asian Games

The 2001 Southeast Asian Games (Malay: Sukan Asia Tenggara 2001), officially known as the 21st Southeast Asian Games, was a multi-sport event held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 8 to 17 September 2001 with 391 events in 32 sports and disciplines featured in the games. The games were opened by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah Al-Haj (Malaysian King Sultan Salahuddin) in the Bukit Jalil National Stadium and were closed by Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad. The games is the first Southeast Asian Games in the 21st century and the first in the 3rd millennium.


It was the fifth time Malaysia host the games, and the first time since 1989. Malaysia is the third country to host the games after Thailand and Myanmar and before Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei.

The final medal tally was led by host Malaysia, followed by Thailand and Indonesia. 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 Kuala Lumpur 21st SEA Games Organizing Committee (KULSOC) was formed to oversee the staging of the event.


The 2001 Southeast Asian Games used a mix of new, existing and temporary venues. Most venues were pre-existing public-sporting facilities which were reverted to public use after the games. No major retrofitting work were done in most venues as most had been used to host major multi-disciplinary events such as the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

At the centrepiece of the activities was the Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex. Incorporating the new 87,411-seat national stadium, 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 hotels across Peninsular Malaysia. Besides being physically near to the sport venues, it was hoped that it will add vibe to all the states and reduce post-games costs in converting a dedicated games village to other uses.

The 21st Southeast Asian Games had 38 venues for the games. 18 in Kuala Lumpur, 10 in Selangor, 4 in Johor and 3 each in Negeri Sembilan and Penang respectively.

Torch relay

The 21st SEA Games torch relay ran from 10 March 2001 to 8 September 2001, covering a distance of 7,884 km. The run began in Labuan followed by Sabah and Sarawak. In the peninsular, it started in Langkawi and passed through 12 states before it ended in Kuala Lumpur. The last leg of the run covered approximately 15 km, from Merdeka Square to Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

Logo and mascot

The logo of the 2001 Southeast Asian Games is an image of a flame, a universal symbol of passion and excellence. It is frequently used in most international sports. In stylising the "Flame" for the logo, usage of the tongues of flame have been individually separated and simplified. This "ribbon" effect allows flexibility in manipulation. The weaving formation conveys unity, a coming together of Southeast Asia's best athletes. The weaving also gives an opportunity to form the Roman numeral XXI to represent the 21st SEA Games. Colours of the national flag are used to establish national identity. The flame tip is the logo of the Southeast Asian Games Federation which represents the participating nations of the Southeast Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games itself.

The official mascot of the 2001 Southeast Asian Games is a squirrel named Si Tumas, short form for Tupai Emas (Golden squirrel). It is said the Squirrel is a lovable creature found almost everywhere in the world. In folk tales of many countries, the squirrel is depicted as a friendly and fun animal known for its high energy and speed of motion. The adoption of the squirrel as the games mascot is to borrow its pleasant, friendly fun characteristics to add life to the event. The gold colouring on the squirrel enhances the winning aspect. The SI is phonetically similar to Sea as in SEA GAMES. The SI is also a friendly form of address in Malay. TU is the first part of Tupai which means squirrel in Malay and MAS comes from the word EMAS which is Malay for gold.


The theme song of the games is "In Glory We Celebrate (The SEA Games - 2001)", composed by Helen Yap from Magic Nova Productions with lyrics written in English by Tom Leng and lyrics written in Malay by Loloq, and was sung by Lynn Ali. A campaign song of the games was composed by Jaafar Abdul Rahman Idris with lyrics written by Dato Mokhzani Ismail and was sung by Adibah Noor.


A total of 26 sponsors, comprising 4 Official Partners, 8 Main Sponsors and 14 Official Sponsors sponsored the games.

Opening ceremony

More than 15,000 volunteers which include 7,000 school children involved in the opening ceremonies, and to create history by organizing the first SEA Games in three cities. Parallel ceremonies at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Baru and the Penang International Sports Arena made the first SEA Games of the new millennium a most memorable event.

As the fireworks lit the sky at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, more than 50,000 people cheered and rejoiced in celebration of the day’s golden achievements and to usher in the two-week friendly Games among the 10 competing nations. The enthusiastic crowd and over 5,000 athletes broke into a deafening roar the moment the Yang di Pertuan Agong King Salahuddin proclaimed: “Let the Games begin”, giving the cue for a 10-gun salute. There was an almost endless round of cheers and applause at the National Stadium throughout the four-hour Games opening extravaganza. Excitement took all forms, such as paratroopers sailing in from the clear sky, carrying the national flags of the 10 countries of the SEA Games fraternity.

Malaysia's fourth Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Dr. Siti Hasmah, riding in an open top army 4WD, waving to the crowd and were given a rousing and enthusiastic reception by the spectators. The choir, which rendered the patriotic songs, kicked off a chain of performances including formations, songs and dances. The highlight of the event was the marching-in of the national contingents comprising some 5,000 sportsmen and sportswomen from all over Southeast Asia. They were led by Games mascot Si Tumas.

As each contingent entered the stadium, the giant electronic scoreboard flashed welcome greetings in their national language, such as Minga la bar (for the Myanmar team) and Mabuhay (for the team from the Philippines). The Singapore contingent marched in with two banners which read 'Team Singapore mengucapkan tahniah kepada Malaysia atas kejayaan menganjurkan Sukan SEA ke-21' (Team Singapore congratulated Malaysia on the success of hosting the 21st SEA Games). The loudest cheers were for the home team, with flag bearer Nur Herman Majid leading the nation’s 558 athletes amid the ecstatic welcome by fans waving the Malaysia's flag, Jalur Gemilang. The Games torch was brought into the stadium by former national soccer star Soh Chin Aun and former Philippines track queen Maria Lydia D’Vega Mercado, who then passed it to 19 other runners before the final lap was taken by former cycling ace Daud Ibrahim. From the stage, he held the flaming torch to light a wire leading to the main cauldron at the opposite end of the stadium. As it lit up, thousands of balloons and confetti poured over the spectators amid more cheers and applause. This signaled a jubilant start to the biggest biennial sports meet in the culturally-rich Southeast Asian region.

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony took place on 17 September 2001 in a rainy night with the theme: ASEAN, a time to celebrate (ASEAN: Masa untuk merayakan). It was attended by 100,000 audiences who managed to get into the stadium and take their seats. The ceremony begins with the performance of local celebrities including Erra Fazira and Ziana Zain.

After that, a group of paratroopers descended on the field of the stadium with the flags of the 10 participating nations of the games accompanied with the song "Jalur Gemilang" performed by a choir group. The athletes of the participating nations then paraded into the stadium by order of sports competed at the games and received warm welcome by the audience in the stadium. The order began with the aquatics, followed by archery, athletics and other sports.

The ceremony then continues with the performance of "Citrawarna Malaysia', performed by 300 dancers and 50 drum players that rocks the stadium with the rhythmic beat that reflects the diversity of the song rhythm and the traditional dances of the multi-racial society in Malaysia. Later, Mohd Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil, the Malaysian Equestrian rider was declared the Best Sportsman of the games, while the Thai Athletics sprinter Supavadee Khawpeag was declared the Best Sportswoman of the games.

After Prime minister Mahathir Mohammad declared the games closed, the Southeast Asian Games Federation flag was lowered and the flame of the cauldron was extinguished. The president of the Southeast Asian Games Federation and the president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, Tan Sri Tunku Muda Serting Imran then handed over the games flag and the baton to the president of the Vietnam Olympic Committee and the Minister of Sports, Nguyen Danh Thai, a symbol of the SEA Games responsibilities being officially handed over to Vietnam, host of the 2003 Southeast Asian Games. The national anthem of Vietnam was played as the National Flag of Vietnam was raised. After that, an 11-minute Vietnam segment performance titled "Welcome to Vietnam" was performed by Vietnamese female dancers carrying a giant red flag with them. The performance was divided into three parts. The ceremony concludes with a Malaysian farewell segment performance in which the firework simultaneously released into the sky with 21 mountaineers fall from the roof using the ropes attached to them and distribute gifts to some lucky audiences while the balloons and colourful papers were spread into the air. A special concert was then held by popular artistes like Siti Nurhaliza, Erra Fazira, Sheila Majid and Amy of Search.

Medal table

A total of 1280 medals comprising 392 gold medals, 390 silver medals and 498 bronze medals were awarded to athletes. The Host Malaysia's performance was their best ever yet in Southeast Asian Games History and emerged as overall champion of the games.


  *   Host nation (Malaysia)


2001 Southeast Asian Games Wikipedia