The SEA Games 31 flame shines after Vietnamese runner Quach Thi Lan lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony on May 12 evening. (Photo: VNA)

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, and Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam were among the Vietnamese leaders attending the ceremony.

International guests include Speaker of the Singaporean Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, ministers and heads of the sports delegations of the 11 participating countries, chief representatives of international organisations, and foreign ambassadors.

The flags of the Southeast Asian Games Federation and SEA Games 31 come into My Dinh National Stadium. (Photo: VNA)

The opening ceremony saw the presence of a large number of athletes and coaches from the 11 delegations who have been competing in 40 sports since May 4. The Vietnamese delegation comprises more than 1,300 members.

The event began with the Vietnamese flag hoisting ceremony, which was followed by special art performances by over 1,000 artists and athletes to introduce the Vietnamese culture and honour the cultural identities of the countries in Southeast Asia, aiming to strengthen solidarity and friendship, promote the spirit of contribution, dedication and honesty, and motivate people's inner strength through sports competition.

The Southeast Asian Games Federation and SEA Games 31 flag hoisting ceremony at the opening. (Photo: VNA)

A dance performance at the opening ceremony. (Photo: VNA)

The ceremony looked to not only popularise images of Vietnam but also express the country’s readiness for integration, creativity, and contribution “For a Stronger Southeast Asia” as the theme of the Games goes.

SEA Games 31 is taking place in Hanoi and 11 nearby localities until May 23. This is the second time Vietnam has hosted the Games, after the first in 2003./

CPV (Source: VNA)