Lao Athletes Showcase Performance at Hangzhou Asian Games

Lao Athletes Showcase Performance at Hangzhou Asian Games
Delegation of the Lao parade into the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, 23 September. (Photo: Xinhua)

A total of 94 athletes from Laos competed in 17 different disciplines in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, from 23 September to 8 October.

The Asian Games is a continental multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia and is the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. 

Sepaktakraw, a team sport played with a ball made of rattan or synthetic plastic, saw the most representation from Lao athletes. Coincidentally, the sport currently boasts Laos’ only medals at the event

The Lao Sepaktakraw teams won three bronze medals, one for the Men’s Sepaktakraw Team Regulation (three people per side), the Women’s Sepaktakraw Team Regulation, and the Women’s Team Quadrant (four people per side). The Sepaktakraw Federation in Laos has secured a total of 13 medals from the Asian Games since 1974, including three silver medals from the 2006 and 2018 games.

While Laos has never been on the top step of the podium in the history of Asian Games, the event remains a chance for the athletes to represent their home nation at an international sport competition.

“To have the opportunity to represent your country at any stage or event is a great honor.  Knowing that you’re playing for something much more than yourself, that’s very special, I’m very grateful for it,” Lao professional golfer Bouahom “Bebe” Thammasack said.

Bebe managed to tie for 34th in the overall Golf Men’s Individuals standings, scoring par over the course of four days. Golf tournament scores are reported by totalling scores relative to the number of shots recommended in each round (there are usually four rounds in professional tournaments). If each of the four rounds has a par of 72, the tournament par would be 288.

Although some athletes have gone on to complete their duties at the games, Laos awaits to see if 2022 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games medalists will be able to secure more medals for their home country.

Lao-American silver medalist at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games (SEA) Jedidiah Phomsavath Slayman (20), and his younger brother Timothy Boonxay Slayman (16), will also be representing Laos at the Asian Games, competing in the Men’s 62 kg Jiu-jitsu on Thursday. 

SEA Games double-medalist Dawson Stephen Sihavong (22), who won silver in the Men’s 70 kg Freestyle Wrestling and bronze at the Men’s 67 kg Greco Roman Wrestling will also be competing in this year’s games.

Currently, Laos is tied for 24th out of 40 with Jordan and Kyrgyzstan.