The 2007 Southeast Asian Games (Thai: กีฬาแห่งเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ 2007, romanized: Kila haeng echiye tawan oak chiyeng tai 2007), officially known as the 24th Southeast Asian Games, was a Southeast Asian multi-sport event held in Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), Thailand. This was the sixth time Thailand hosted the Southeast Asian Games and its first time since 1995. Previously, Thailand also hosted the 1959 inaugural games, 1967 games, 1975 games and the 1985 games.
The Thai Olympic Committee planned the event to coincide with the commemoration of 80th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej who was also the gold medalist of the sailing event at the 1967 games. The games was held from 6 to 15 December 2007 although several events had commenced from 27 November 2007. Around 5282 athletes participated at the event which featured 475 events in 43 sports. It was opened by Prince Vajiralongkorn, the Crown Prince of Thailand at the 80th Birthday Stadium.
The final medal tally was led by host nation Thailand, followed by Malaysia and Vietnam. Several Games and national records were broken during the games. The games were deemed generally successful with the rising standards of competition amongst the Southeast Asian nations.
Singapore was due to host the 2007 Southeast Asian Games, but it withdrew from hosting to demolish and rebuild its national stadium. A general assembly of the SEA Games Federation Council during the 2003 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam approved Thailand’s hosting of the games.
Development and preparation
On 24 February 2006, northeast Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima Province authorities met to discuss the 2007 SEA Games schedule, and progress on the province’s under-construction US$65 million sports complex. Presided over by governor Somboon Ngamlak, the meeting provided an overview of facilities, and ended with reassurances that facilities would be ready for SEA Games in 2007.
A torch relay was held across the nation prior to the hosting of the games. On 8 November 2007, Prince Vajiralongkorn, on behalf of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej presented the royal flame to the games organising committee chairman, Suvit Yodmani. Following the presentation, the flame was installed in Bangkok at the Bangkok City Hall. After that, the flame was relayed from Bangkok to provinces such as Chonburi, Samut Songkhram, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Suphanburi, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, Loei, Nong Khai, Sakhon Nahkhon, Mukdahan, Ubon Ratchatthani, Surin, Roi Et and Khon Kaen before arrived in the host province, Nakhon Ratchasima on 26 November 2007. In Nakhon Ratchasima, the flame was relayed across its districts such as Phimai, Choke Chai, Pak Thong Chai, Pak Chong and Soongnern before arrived at Nakhon Ratchasima City, the host city of the games on 1 December 2007. The flame was then installed at the monument of Thao Suranari before the games’ opening ceremony.
Branding and design
The logo of the games is a silhouette of three sailing boats arranged in a row, representing the 40th anniversary that His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej won a gold medal in sailing at the 1967 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games and the 80th anniversary of his birthday. It was designed by Prasit Nunsung from Nonthaburi. The three boats in the logo represents the development, the blending of colours and the technology of Thailand. While the yellow colour on the largest boat represents the King himself, along with red and blue, it is one of the colours on the flag of ASEAN and represents the unity and friendship among the games’ participants and the people of Southeast Asia. The 10-circle chain, which is also the logo of the Southeast Asian Games Federation, represents the 10 member nations, excluding Timor-Leste. The shape of the boats resemble the Pimai castle, a symbol of host city Nakhon Ratchasima, as well as the Northeast region of Thailand and its thousand-year-old civilization.
The mascot of the games is a Korat cat named Can. He wears the Northeast region of Thailand’s traditional garments and plays the khaen, a mouth organ that the region is famous for. The name of the musical instrument aforementioned coincidentally has a similar pronunciation to his name. He was created by Sa-ard Jomngarm and his name “Can” was given by an eight-year-old girl, Piyathida Sreewimon.
Four songs were composed for the games including “Rhythm of the Winner”, the theme song of the games. The other songs are: “We are the Water”, “Friendship Card” and “Korat SEA Games”.
Most of the Games were held in the His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary, 5 December 2007, Sports Complex on Pakthongchai Road in Nakhon Ratchasima after a US$65 million reconstruction for the event. The sports complex holds the 24,000-seater 80th Birthday Stadium, two indoor stadiums and many other facilities. Aside from Nakhon Ratchasima, events were held in Bangkok and Chonburi. In Suranaree University of Technology, the students’ residence was used as the athletes’ village while Suraphat 2 Building was used as the main press centre.
39 venues were used for the games: 28 in Nakhon Ratchasima, 6 in Bangkok and 5 in Chonburi.