The sporting landscape in Laos has experienced a remarkable transformation, with the nation’s athletes achieving unprecedented success on the international stage throughout the year.
From table tennis triumphs to historic medal hauls at the 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the achievements of Lao athletes have been nothing short of extraordinary.
As the year comes to an end, we reflect on some of the outstanding achievements of our Lao athletes.
Kicking off the year, Xaysana Xaysavath, a Lao Table Tennis national team junior athlete, won the Under-11 Youth singles division of the 28th Qatar World Table Tennis Championships in Doha, Qatar, in January.
The following month, the spotlight turned to the national baseball team, which secured a second place in the 1st DGB Cup Indochina Dream League tournament, which was held from 24-26 February at the KM16 Stadium in Vientiane Capital.
As anticipation built for the 32nd SEA Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Lao martial artists made their mark in the 1st Kun Bokator SEA Championship 2023 from 5 to 16 May. Competing against representatives from Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, Lao athletes secured 5 gold, 7 silver, and 12 bronze medals in this ancient Cambodian battlefield martial art.
The SEA Games, a biennial event that took place in May, saw te participation of 576 athletes participated across 32 events, bringing to Laos a record-breaking medal haul of 88, including six gold, 22 silver, and 60 bronze medals. Notable victories were achieved in Petanque, Kun Bakator, Sepaktakraw, and Vovinam.
This year’s SEA Games also saw the participation of American athletes of Lao descent, with Jedidiah Phomsavath Slayman bringing home the silver medal in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Dawson Sihavong winning silver in men’s freestyle wrestling and bronze in men’s Greco-Roman wrestling.
In June, Lao athlete Sayavong (Py) Vongviseth took center stage as he won gold in the Powerman Short – Male 40-49 category with a record time of 1:38:14 at the 18th Powerman Malaysia 2023 duathlon competition in Putrajaya.
Powerman Malaysia is the world’s biggest duathlon competition, and saw 2,282 athletes join this year. Py achieved a ranking of 20th among all athletes across different categories and secured the 19th position out of a total of 1,892 male athletes.
Then came the biggest competition of the year, the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, from 23 September to 8 October. The games are recognized as the world’s second largest multi-sport competition after the Olympic Games.
Although a total of 94 athletes from Laos competed in 17 different disciplines, only the Sepaktakraw teams were able to secure medals for the country.
The teams secured three bronze medals – one for the Men’s Sepaktakraw Team Regulation (three people per side), another for the Women’s Sepaktakraw Team Regulation, and a third for the Women’s Team Quadrant (four people per side), ending the sporting year off with a bang.
As the year comes to a close, the remarkable achievements of Lao athletes underscore the nation’s commitment to developing sporting talent and competing at the highest levels. The trajectory of Lao sports continues to ascend, promising an exciting future for athletes and fans alike.