SEA Games 2021 in 2022: Preview, schedule and stars to watch in Vietnam

The Southeast Asian Games 2021 take place in Hanoi in May 2022 and will shine a light on the region's sporting heroes and rising stars. Get a preview, schedule, live streaming and stars to watch here. 

By Ken Browne

Southeast Asia is about to put on a show with the SEA Games 2021 taking place from 12-23 May 2022 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The 31st edition of the Southeast Asian Games features 40 sports across 526 events and counts on the participation of over 4,5,467 athletes from 11 different nations.

Olympic gold medallists like the Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz and Singapore swim star Joseph Schooling will set the bar high while world champions Loh Kean Yew (badminton) and Carlos Yulo (gymnastics) will be out to add to their collection of continental titles.

Add to the mix the likes of Malaysia's two-time Olympic diving medallist Pandelela Rinong, Indonesia's next-gen badminton team, Thailand's Pleumjit Thinkaow and the Philippine's Alyssa Valdez who will light up the volleyball court, and we're in for a treat of serious sporting action.

Let's not forget local hero Hoang Xuan Vinh, who won Vietnam's first ever Olympic gold in shooting, and Thailand's Olympic taekwondo champion Panipak Wongpattanakit.

From martial arts wushu, pencak silat, and vovinam to sepak takraw, muay thai, Esports and all your Olympic favourites, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy in Hanoi.

And you can follow all the news, action, highlights and fun right here on Olympics.com as we will be on-site bringing you live updates in real time, follow it all on our live blog!

Read on for a preview, stars and events to watch, a schedule, and where you can watch and stream the SEA Games.

Also read:

Badminton preview and full schedule

Women's football preview and schedule

Gymnastics preview and schedule

Preview and stars to watch

With so much going on at these Games there is no lack of stories to follow and exciting plotlines to play out.

Joseph Schooling was the only man to beat Michael Phelps at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but has said that he's coming to the end of his swimming journey, and this SEA Games may be his last.

"I'm not going to be swimming for very much longer," he told the Straits Times recently, "maybe one more Olympic cycle, maybe not. I don't know yet," said the swimmer who turns 27 in June.

And from one gold medallist to another, Tokyo 2020 weightlifting champ Hidilyn Diaz is ready to add to her four-medal SEA Games haul and defend her 55kg title in Hanoi:

"I'm ready to represent the Phlippines again," she posted on her social media.

Double Olympic medallist and eight-time SEA Games dive champ Pandelela Rinong from Malaysia is ready to lengthen her legacy in Hanoi too. She'll compete in the 10m platform and the 10m synchro with Nur Dhabitah.

Malaysia aim to sweep all eight diving gold medals on offer according to their Chinese coach Li Rui.

Vietnam's football teams and the Philippines' basketball team out to stay on top

At the 2019 SEA Games in Manila, Vietnam won both the men's and women's football competitions, and as hosts of this edition they'll hope to bring more joy to the home fans by retaining their titles.

The women's team has electrified Vietnamese football by qualifying for their first ever World Cup at Australia & New Zealand 2023, and there is a lot of excitement around the side, it's led by coach Mai Duc Chung, captain and top scorer Huynh Nhu.

Speaking of reigning champions, the Filipino basketball team are going for a staggering 14th SEA Games men's title in a row.

The Gilas Pilipinas will be led by brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena and six-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo.

They have won 18 gold medals in the history of these Games, more than anyone else by a way, and will be hoping to add a 19th this time around.

Women's volleyball at the SEA Games 2022

Women's volleyball is set be a thriller too. Thailand are the reigning champs from the last SEA Games, defeating Vietnam in the final.

The hosts would love to go one better this time around, but Thailand's captain Pleumjit Thinkaow has won ten SEA titles alongside trusted friend and setter Nootsara Tomkom, and they won't loosen their grip easily.

Women's volleyball is hugely popular in the Philippines too, and the Pinoy challenge will be boosted by outside hitter Alyssa Valdez' decision to forego her final spot in the Philippines' Big Brother show to play for her country in Hanoi.

Badminton at the SEA Games 2022: Preview

One of Asia's favourite sports will take centre stage in Vietnam, and we will see a world champion and an Olympic champion involved along with some exciting young risers in Hanoi.

Men's reigning champ Lee Zii Jia will not defend his title in Hanoi which makes Singapore's Loh Kean Yew the favourite for many.

The reigning world champ will come straight from the Thomas Uber Cup where he was on fire, defeating Indonesia's Anthony Ginting 21-13, 21-14 in just 37 minutes, and winning his other two singles matches in straight sets too, but Singapore failed to advance from the group stages in the end.

Now Loh turns his attention to Hanoi:

“The badminton competition only starts later and I did not want to miss the opportunity to play for Singapore in the SEA Games,” the 24-year-old said, he lost out to Lee Zii Jia in the previous final in the Philippines.

Indonesia's Olympic doubles champ Apriyani Rahayu will be there too, feeling her way back to fitness after an injury.

Look out for Indonesia's 23-year-old riser Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo who made the Asia Championships semi-final recently - defeating Momota Kento along the way - and only lost to Jonatan Christie in semi-final.

In the women's draw there's Indonesia's 19-year-old Putri Kusuma Wardani (Putri KW) who won a tournament in Orleans, France, recently, and also has Czech Open 2021, Bangladesh International 2021, and Spain Masters 2021 wins next to her name.

Vietnam's challenge is headlined by Nguyen Tien Minh in the men's and Nguyen Thuy Linh in the women's competition while Malaysia's 22-year-olds Tee Kai Wun and Man Wei Chong are out to make a name for themselves too.

Track and field at the 2022 SEA Games

There's a lot to look forward to in athletics in Hanoi, Filipino pole-vaulter EJ Obiena set a new SEA Games record at 5.45m at the last edition and he'll aim to go much higher this time around.

Unfortunately, Filipina sprinter Kristina Knot won't be able to defend her 200m title after she suffered a foot injury just before the Games.

Better news for the Philippines track team is that their twin-threat – Kyla and Kayla Richardson – should compete in Vietnam.

Women's reigning 100m champ Le Tu Chinh from Vietnamese champ will not be able to defend her 100m title either because of a knee injury.

Indonesian sprint sensation Lalu Zohri was already the fastest man in Asia at 18 years of age, but Covid and a lack of continuity in training and competition haven't helped his development.

Now 21, these Games are the perfect stage to help him get back on track - watch out for Zohri in the men's 100 and 200m.

Esports, sepak takraw, silat and wushu at the 2022 SEA Games

At a diverse event featuring everything from Esports to dance, chess, and the amazing game of sepak takraw, there is a lot to dive into.

It's only the second time medals will be awarded in Esports at the SEA Games. The first was three years ago at the 2019 edition of these Games.

In Hanoi League of Legends, Wild Rift, Arena of Valor, League of Legends, FIFA Online 4, CrossFire, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang will all feature.

Two years ago the Philippines came out on top of the Esports competitions with Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore all among the medallists.

What is sepak takraw?

Martial art wushu and sepak takraw - a spectacular game played with a wicker ball on a court with a net - will be in the spotlight in Hanoi too.

And keep an eye on Singaporean hero Sheik Farhan, he's a three-time silat world champ, this martial art developed in Malaysia and Indonesia was added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2019 and is a real spectacle.

Oh and let's not forget muay thai, a hard-hitting kickboxing event that Thai fighters often dominate, but in 2019 there were good showings from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and we saw medals for Laos and Cambodia too.

2022 SEA Games live stream and highlights

You can find live streaming and highlights on the SEA Games 31 Viet Nam 2021 YouTube channel, some geo-restrictions may apply depending on where you are in the world.

Southeast Asian Games in 2022: Schedule

The Opening Ceremony for the 2021 SEA Games is scheduled for 12 May but some competitions will already start on 6 May.

Football

Men’s football May 6-22
Women’s football May 11-21

Diving

8-11 May

Badminton

May 13-21

Basketball

May 13-22

Volleyball

Indoor volleyball May 13-22

Beach volleyball May 15-20

Golf

May 13-18

Fencing

May 13-18

E-sports

May 13-22

Tennis

May 13-22

Table tennis

May 13-20

Handball

Beach handball May 6-11
Indoor handball May 15-21

Sepak Takraw

May 13-21

Boxing and kickboxing

Boxing May 15-22
Kickboxing May 6-13
Muay thai May 17-22

Gymnastics

Artistic gymnastics May 13-16
Rhythmic gymnastics May 18-19
Aerobic gymnastics May 21-22

Cycling

Mountain bike May 14-17
Road cycling May 19-22

Rowing

May 9-14

Futsal

May 10-20

Chess

May 10-21

Chinese chess

May 14-20

Judo

May 18-22

Martial arts

Jujitsu May 14-15
Karate May 18-20
Pencat Silat May 10-16
Vovinam May 18-22
Wushu May 13-15

Petanque

May 13-19

Bodybuilding

May 13-15

Kurash

May 10-13

Dance

May 15-16

Billards/Snooker

May 14-22

Archery

May 15-19

Bowling

May 16-19

Canoe/Kayak

May 17-21

Shooting

May 16-22

Weightlifting

May 19-22

Here's a full schedule at the official Games site.

Don't forget to follow all the action on Olympics.com as we bring live updates, news, results and interviews from the SEA Games in 2022, and across our @Olympics social media platforms.

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