Timor Leste Athlete Brings Home Souvenirs from Vietnamese Fans

Along with a Vietnamese flag, the foreign athlete also brought many souvenirs representing the love from his Vietnamese fans, like the signature Vietnam pith helmet.
May 28, 2022 | 09:12

After attending the closing ceremony of the 31st SEA Games, track and field athlete Felisberto De Deus and the Timor Leste Sports Delegation took a flight to Dili capital on May 25. They received a warm welcome back home.

Photo: Silvia da Cruz
Track and field hero Felisberto De Deus from Timor Leste (second to right) received warm welcome when returning home. Photo: Silvia da Cruz

António Guterres, Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, was also present at the airport to congratulate the heroes.

Photo: Silvia da Cruz
Photo: Silvia da Cruz

Felisberto expressed joy and emotion when hundreds of fans gathered to welcome the delegation despite the hot weather. He also has a car parade on the street to share the joy with everyone, Zing reported.

"My fans back home send a big thank you to the people of Vietnam for supporting me as well as loving and caring for the Timor Leste athletes team during our time in Vietnam," he said.

His favorite souvenir from Vietnam, besides the Vietnamese flag, is the signature Vietnam pith helmet.

Felisberto always carried the pith helmet with the Vietnamese flag that he was given in Hanoi. He did not once leave these gifts, even when lying down to take a rest at the airport while transiting in Malaysia, which received a lot of praises from the online community.

These simple gifts are meaningful to Felisberto, and he wants to share his joy with his family.

“I will also buy gifts for my family. My father loves conical hats and told me to buy him one,” he said.

On May 27, he and the athletes who achieved achievements at the 31st SEA Games will attend the honor ceremony of the Timor Leste government.

Photo: nvcc
Felisberto reunited with his parents and relatives to share his happiness with his family. Photo: Felisberto De Deus

The image of Felisberto holding the Vietnamese flag in his hand and wearing the Timor Leste national flag running along the My Dinh yard to celebrate was one of the most emotional moments for the audience. He also went to hold hands with athletes Nguyen Van Lai (winning gold) and Le Van Thao (bronze bronze) to share the joy.

Timor Leste Athlete Brings Home Souvenirs from Vietnamese Fans
Photo: The Thao 247

In addition to achievements in SEA GAMES 31, the Timor Leste Sports Team also won 1 silver medal and 1 bronze medal in Boxing, 1 bronze medal in Taekwondo.

“Vietnamese people are friendly, kind and support me a lot. This warms my heart. If possible, I hope to see the girl who gave me the national flag to say thank you," he said.

Photo: Zing
First time SEA GAMES medalist Felisberto De Deus. Photo: Zing

At the 31st SEA Games, Felisberto De Deus (born in 1999) won 2 silver medals in the men's 5,000 m and 10,000 m races. This is the first track and field medal in Timor Leste's history of participating in this arena.

The 23-year-old feels happy when receiving enthusiastic cheers from the audience even though he is racing with Vietnamese athletes.

This is Felisberto's second visit to Vietnam. He went to Ho Chi Minh City to attend the youth athletics tournament in the past. This time, the young man praised Hanoi's pleasant weather and delicious cuisine.

Felisberto said he admires track and field athlete Duong Van Thai of Vietnam. The young man regretted that this SEA Games he did not have the opportunity to compete with his idol.

For Felisberto, Vietnam is like a second home. He hopes to have the opportunity to return and bring his whole family here. The male athletes feel surprised and happy to be in the spotlight on social networks as well as in real life.

In addition to competing in sports, Felisberto is a freshman majoring in English at the National University of East Timor.

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