By LAM KA-JHUN
For three days in late September, over a thousand students from South-East Asia gathered in Melbourne for a rather unlikely event – the Asean Games Australia (AGA).
Held for the second year running, the sporting event saw participants competing in nine disciplines, including badminton, squash, futsal and netball.
AGA 2013 kicked off with an opening ceremony held at the Melbourne Multicultural Hub, with the games held in Albert Park. The project is spearheaded by the Malaysian Students’ Council Australia (MASCA) Victoria and supported by five other Asean student councils in Victoria – Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.
Emotions ran high among the audience throughout the event, with students from each country passionately cheering on their teams.
Malaysian student Daniel Wu, who won gold in the badminton singles’ competition, praised the positive atmosphere at the event.
“It was really fun. Besides meeting old and new friends, all the sports were played in one venue, so we were able to easily hop on nearby and join in the excitement of the other games,” said Wu.
At the end of the three days, a closing ceremony was held at the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre, featuring cultural performances from Indonesia and Vietnam.
Our Malaysian contingent in Melbourne did us proud by taking home the AGA Plate for finishing as the overall champions with 14 gold medals and 43 overall.
AGA project director Cheong Jin Xi, a Malaysian, was pleased with how the event turned out.
“Despite the financial and marketing difficulties, the commitment and cooperation shown by the committee and sponsors made things happen,” said Cheong.
But AGA wasn’t just about sporting competition. More importantly, it was about bringing people together, and creating a closer bond among Asean students in the region. Over 200 students volunteered to help make the event happen, and at the end, part of the proceeds from the event were donated to charity.
For more information about the Asean Games Australia, and for this year’s medal tally, log on to aseangamesaustralia.com.au.