Some of them won gold while others were out to gain international exposure at the SEA Games. ALEXANDRIA SCHOON features a group of athletes from the region who wowed the fans in and out of competition
JOSEPH SCHOOLING, Singapore
Barely 20, Schooling was the star of the Games, scooping nine gold medals in nine events, setting new Games records in all of them. He is likeable outside of the pool, confident but not arrogant. He is aiming for world domination, which will surely see his fandom reach new heights.
FARAH ANN ABDUL HADI, Malaysia
- Artistic Gymnastics
Malaysia's gymnastics golden girl Farah, 21 (above right), won the floor exercise, clinched a silver in the individual all-around, and a bronze in the vault, uneven bars and balance beam. Her winning disposition in and out of the Bishan Sports Hall was truly a pleasure to behold. She hails from a family of champions; her sister Katrina won the gold in the synchronised swimming duet event at this year's Games.
SASHA CHRISTIAN, Singapore
Christian (above) dominated the wakeboarding events, clinching gold in the individual wakeboard as well as the women's slalom. She was part of the wakeboard team that won gold, which she said was a sweeter victory because she got to share the victory. Only 22, the future is bright for this champion.
LIANE WONG, Singapore
Fencing since she was a little kid, Wong scored her first SEA Games gold in the women's team foil event. Last year, she made her Asian Games debut in Incheon, South Korea, finishing 10th. We will definitely see more of the 21-year-old as she continues to take fencing to a higher level in Singapore.
KATHARINA LEHNERT, Philippines
Lehnert, a Filipina-German, has been competing since 2008. In 2013, she made the decision to play for the Philippines instead of Germany. At the Games, she chalked a silver in the women's doubles with Denise Dy. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 595 in the world in singles, and 952 in doubles.
RACHEL ANNE DAQUIS, Philippines
She was the centre of attention at the volleyball arena, with throngs of reporters pushing to interview her. An FHM model in the Philippines, Daquis (above), 27, was also powerful on court with her spikes, although her team eventually fell to powerhouses Indonesia and Vietnam.
SAILUB LERTRATANACHAI, Thailand
The 22-year-old (above) wowed the spectators with her smooth leaps at the showjumping final. She finished third and cheerfully congratulated her peers, and good-naturedly took pictures with all her fans.
LINDSWELL KWOK, Indonesia
This 23-year-old is a world champion, and bagged the gold for the Optional Taijiquan and Taijijian at the Games. She has been practising her martial art for a long time, and her followers will be happy to know she is far from finished.
IRFAN FANDI AHMAD, Singapore
At just 17, Irfan made his debut at this Games. While the Singapore Under-23s were shockingly poor, his stock has stayed intact. Lighting the Games' cauldron with his famous dad proved a huge hit with Singaporeans.
MARK LEONG, Singapore
Mark was spectacular when he swept to gold in the slalom event. Earlier this year, the 17-year-old raised eyebrows when he won the slalom at the Indonesia Open, which featured an international field. This was Mark's first SEA Games, and his star is on the rise.
ALEXANDER RINEFALK, Thailand
Swedish-born, the 17-year-old was one of the top goalscorers for his nation, despite being the youngest on the team. Led by Alexander, the young Thais they swept past their opponents but found the hosts too strong. Silver was success for him and the team, though.
MAC HONG QUAN, Vietnam
A forward, Mac scored 4 goals in seven matches. The 23-year-old started playing football after his family emigrated to the Czech Republic, and was later scouted and selected to play in the AFC Under-22 Championship qualifiers. The talented attacker is already a member of Vietnam's senior national team.
TYLER CHRISTIAN RUIZ, Philippines
- High Jump
His personal best is 2.17m, and he jumped 2.08m at the Games. The 23-year-old is working hard to qualify for next year's Rio Olympics and he has a whole swathe of female fans back home praying for him.
JONATAN CHRISTIE, Indonesia
Winning his first international title at just 15, Jonatan clinched gold in the men's team. The 17-year-old is currently ranked world No. 35 in men's singles and is touted for much bigger things.