JAKARTA, 30 November 2016 – The ASEAN Secretariat hosted today a tribute and recognition ceremony for ASEAN athletes who competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Medals of appreciation were awarded to twelve Olympians and Paralympians who attended the event held in Jakarta.

Olympians and paralympians from ASEAN Member States did the region proud by winning a total of 49 medals. Half of the medals were won in the fields of athletics, badminton, weightlifting and boccia. The achievement set new heights for the region and this event sought to recognise the increasing level of sport competitiveness of ASEAN Member States.

In his welcome address, Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, congratulated all medalists and hoped that the recent achievements continue to inspire future generations. He noted that sport is an important avenue for bringing people together. He added that “sport is also a powerful tool to attract, mobilise and inspire communities to promote social inclusion, development and citizenship and ultimately enhancing ASEAN Identity.”

“We should honour our athletes for the pride and aspiration they brought to ASEAN during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Dato Ahmad Shapawi, Director General, National Sport Council of Malaysia. “Sports play a big role in promoting unity, for a more successful ASEAN in the future,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of all ASEAN athletes, Mr Hoang Xuan Vinh, Olympic gold medalist from Viet Nam said, “each competition is an opportunity to have new friends. I believe that there will be more achievements in the future that can make us, ASEAN, stand out in the world.”

Representatives from ASEAN Missions and partners including Ambassadors from Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and Brazil attended the event to honour ASEAN Olympians and Paralympians.

Download H.E. Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee full speech here.