SEA Games 29 officially opens in Malaysia

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MALAYSIA ended a 16-year wait to win the Sea Games netball gold medal by beating defending champion and arch-rival Singapore 65-41 in a lopsided final at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara today.

Fireworks explode at the Stadium Bukit Jalil during the SEA Games opening ceremony.

About 85,000 spectators were expected to attend the event, which marked the official opening of the biennial multi-sport event that stretches from 19 to 30 August.

The ceremony featured drum and traditional martial art performances and a procession of 320 flags of Malaysia which symbolised 32 million people in the country and then 11 flags of 11 participating Southeast Asian nations.

They will be joined by home favorite like Malaysian world champions keirin cyclist Azizulhasni Awang and diving world champion Cheong Jun Hoong and Pandelela Rinong, the country's first female Olympic medalist.

"Through the games we create excitement, we forge memories and we leave a legacy of friendship and sportsmanship".

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"We see the Games as a natural extension of our National Day campaign as ultimately, it's a very tangible reminder that we all have to raise our game to keep Singapore ahead of the pack", she said.

"Every two years, our countries come together, not merely to complete, but to celebrate our southeast Asian community together", said Khairy, who will also play in the polo game representing his country.

"When we applaud our athletes at the stadium or any other venues, our differences fade away, leaving us with only our similarities to forge a honest union of hearts for our nation", Khairy said.

"They moved as a unit, a team, to ensure victory".

Tunku Imran, who is also the SEA Games Federation (SEAGF) president, extended his appreciation to the members of the body for their continuous support for KL2017.

Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, along with Malaysia's king, Sultan Muhammad V, and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi were present at the opening ceremony.