Despite the initial public outcry on lack of preparation, budget concerns, miscommunication, and treatment of athletes, this has been an exciting time for the Philippines as it hosts it’s fourth Southeast Asian Games. It's the latest biennial mult-sport event that has brought in over 8,000 athletes from 11 different countries to compete in as much as 56 sports.
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Since the opening last November 30, all eyes have been on the competitors. A number of them easily caught our attention—not just because of their athletic ability, but their good looks, too! We rounded up some hotshots per country. Did your fave athletes make it to the list?
1. Prince Abudl Mateen, Brunei. The son of Sultan Hassanal and Mariam Aziz, Prince Abdul Mateen is sixth in line to the Brunei throne. Together with the rest of the sultanate’s polo team, the 28-year-old competed against Indonesia in the Polo event (A Division), where they won bronze. Apart from this feat, he holds a Royal Air Force (RAF) badge that qualifies him to fly helicopters. He also graduated as a Second Lieutenant after completing a commissioning officer course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK.
2. Pham Hong Nam, Vietnam. Vietnam bagged an impressive 23 gold medals to date. Among the athletes to watch out for is 23-year-old Pham Hong Nam, who will represent his country in the upcoming Badminton Doubles Event. Besides Vietnamese fans and badminton fans, he's got a great support system in the form of his ladylove (who, from the looks of Instagram, he hashtags #aries0106).
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3. Adam Akasyah, Malaysia. The youngest on our list and only Brazilian Jiu-jitsu fighter on our list is 19-year-old Adam Akasyah. The Malaysian athlete first learned the sport when he was 13, after his martial artist father introduced him to it. He’s since competed across the globe, all while juggling college life at Taylor's University Lakeside Campus in Malaysia.
4. Joseph Schooling, Singapore. Joseph Schooling loves football. He once got a chance to meet favorite team, England's Chelsea FC, in the flesh. But in the world of sports, he is a swimming legend. Joseph made history when he bested Michael Phelps in the 2016 Rio Olympics and won Singapore it’s first-ever Olympic Gold medal in swimming. Now 24, the champion swimmer is set to partake in the 4x100m, 4x200m free relays and 4x100m medley relay, while defending his current 100m free, 50m fly, and 100m fly titles from when he won Gold in the 2017 SEA Games.
5. Christian William Redden, Singapore. Ice hockey found itself a hottie in the form of Christian William Redden. Redding is playing for Singapore’s national team as small forward. Those watching the game will recall how he scored his team’s opening goal two minutes into their winning match against Indonesia. Prior to competing, Christian's Instagram showed him travelling around the world and spending time with loved ones. He also introduced social media to Milo, the dog he adopted in 2018.
6. Nadeo Argawinata, Indonesia. Bilingual, well-traveled, and athletic, Nadeo makes for a quite the well-rounded individual. When he's not working out at the gym or posting Insta-worthy travel solos, this handsome 22-year-old is playing a lot of professional football. A member of Borneo’s Liga 1 team, Nadeo came all the way to the Philippines represent Indonesia in this year’s SEA Games. In the Group B category, they beat Thailand and Singapore, but eventually lost to Vietnam, the defending champion team, in a 2-1 upset match.
7. Surliyadin Surliyadin, Indonesia. Also from Indonesia is Surliyadin Surliyadin, a well-known small forward for the Garuda Bandung club of the Indonesian Basketball League. After graduating from the Universitas Widyatama in June, he's now helped his team qualify for the semi-finals of the men’s 3x3 basketball tournament at the 2019 Sea Games, where they will go against Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines for the gold. Two people sure to be cheering him on? His daugther, Aranka Raifa, and wife of over three years, Adisti Lukman.
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Photographs care of the athletes' Instagram accounts | Banner image by Simone Castrovillari