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Laos gained further recognition as gracious hosts of the 25th SEA Games when the International Olympic Council awarded the nation with the President's Trophy to the Standing Deputy Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic His Excellency Somsavat Lengsavad. Somsavat is also the chairman of the 25th South East Asian Games Organizing Committee, and who received the award from the vice-president of the IOC, Ng Ser Miang on behalf of IOC president Jacques Rogge.

"In recognition of your outstanding effort in the promotion of sport in Laos, your bringing Southeast Asian athletes to share a unique experience of the Games in Vientiane, and for fulfilling the Olympic ideals as expounded by Pierre de Coubertin, the founding father of the modern Olympic Games, the IOC awards you the International Olympic Committee President's Trophy," said Ng.

"On behalf of the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Family congratulate the Lao People's Democratic Republic for hosting the South East Asian Games for the very first time. You have organized excellent Games and extended your warm and wonderful hospitality and friendship to all the participants and visitors to the Games.

"To each and every one of the 3100 athletes from the 11 SEA Games countries, you have competed, lived and embraced the Olympic values of "Excellence, Friendship and Respect". Congratulations on your outstanding performances.

"On behalf of the International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, I have the privilege of honouring the Government and the people of Lao People's Democratic Republic and the man responsible for organizing the Games, His Excellency Somsavat Lengsavad, Standing Deputy Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 25th South East Asian Games."

Over the past three years, Laos have worked tirelessly to fulfil the Government's vision to promote sport among the people of the country, hence contributing to building a peaceful and better world through the practice of sport in the Olympic spirit. Sport is after all the only language understood by everyone, and an important element that unites people and the Laos government took on the challenge to host the 25th SEA Games and successfully transformed the sporting landscape of the country.

The Sports Complex at Km16 with its magnificent main stadium, aquatic centre, shooting range, tennis courts and competition halls, amongst the other outstanding facilities spread over Vientiane such as the SEA Games Golf Course and the Judo Hall are among the best found in the region.

"Excellency, your personal interest and attention in the organization of the Games have resulted in the most successful Games, not only in terms of the excellent organization and outstanding hospitality, but also in the remarkable performances from the Laos athletes. The Laos athletes achieved a record total of 33 gold medals, 25 silver and 52 bronze medals to finish seventh overall," he added.

The Laos People's Democratic Republic now joins the list of countries that have successfully hosted the South East Asian Games. In his keynote address during the closing ceremony of the 25th edition of the SEA Games last night, His Excellency Bouasone Bouphavanh, the Prime Minister of the Laos said that Laos faced some difficulties in preparing for the Games.

"But as a member of ASEAN, we are committed to putting on the best Games we can. We, the Organizing Committee, contributed out best effort in every aspect to ensure that these SEA Games embody the Games' philosophy of cooperation, friendship and mutual development," added Bouasone.

"This is an opportunity for national economic and social development that will contribute to the preservation of our national culture and is a wonderful chance to show the world out beloved country which holds dear the sentiment of the Games motto: Generosity, Amity, Healthy Lifestyle." Courtesy of ICT Committee.

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