Women's v'ball players rally to beat Vietnam
Thai weightlifters made a clean sweep, while hosts Indonesia looked set to capture the overall SEA Games crown for the first time in 14 years after another dominating show yesterday.
With only two days remaining before the closing of the 26th South East Asian Games, the hosts have already surpassed the 140-gold medal mark. The chances of any other nation overtaking them look slim as there are only 61 gold medals to compete for in the last two days. The last time Indonesia captured the overall SEA Games title was in 1997 when they hosted the 19th edition.
Thailand took comfort in the fact that they are in second overall in the medal tally following significant success by their weightlifters and spikers.
Thai weightlifters, who won four gold medals with a record-setting performance, yesterday continued their amazing form to make a clean sweep of the three gold medals at stake in the women’s category.
Debutant Panida Khamsri opened Thailand’s account yesterday with a gold in the women’s 48kg class. Panida lifted 84kg in the snatch and 103kg in the jerk for an aggregate 187kg in the Olympic Total, 20kg above Vietnam’s Pham Thuy Dung, who lifted 74kg, 93kg and 167kg in snatch, clean and jerk, and Olympic Total respectively.
The bronze medal went to Indonesian Masitoh, who lifted 161kg in the Olympic Total.
The second gold of the day was won by the 2008 Beijing Olympics heroine Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakool in the women’s 53kg class.
Prapawadee, better known as “Nong K,” lifted 90kg in the snatch and 115kg in the jerk for a combined 205kg to win the gold medal. Indonesian Citra Febriyanti and Vietnamese Nguyen ThiThuy lifted 203kg and 200kg to pick up silver and bronze medals respectively.
Young Rattikan Gulnoi, an 18-year-old from Surin, who won three medals including one silver in this year’s World Junior Weightlifting Championships in Penang, Malaysia, was a revelation.
Rattikan lifted 98kg in the snatch and 125kg in the clean and jerk for a combined 223kg in the Olympic Total, enough to take home the gold medal in the women’s 58kg class.
Filipina Hidilyin Diaz took silver after producing total lifts of 215kg, with Indonesian Okta Dwi Paramita claiming the bronze medal with an aggregate 207kg.
In the volleyball competition, the Thai women’s team produced a magnificent come-from-behind 3-1 (21-25 25-20 25-15 25-14) victory over Vietnam to retain their crown. It is their 16th triumph in SEA Games history including six in succession.
Since indoor volleyball made its SEA Games debut in 1977, Thailand has emerged as the perennial winners, losing in the final just once, to the Philippines in 1993.
Thailand, current world No 13, fielded a strong starting line-up comprising powerful Onuma Sittirak, Wilavan Apinyapong, Pleumjit Thinkaow and Amporn Hyapha.
In what was a rematch of the previous five SEA Games matches against the same rivals, Thailand started erratically as Vietnam came up with solid blocks to beat the Thai team 25-21 in the first set.
Thailand, who had already beaten Vietnam in straight sets in the round-robin preliminaries, regrouped to win the remaining three sets and the gold medal. Hosts Indonesia beat Burma 3-1 to claim the bronze medal.
The Thai men’s team were due to take on two-time winners Indonesia in the final last night. In Vientiane, Thailand lost to the Indonesians 3-2 in a hard-fought showdown. Vietnam and Burma would battle it out for the bronze medal.
Thailand still have a bright chance to win more gold medals in the boxing contest after their women’s fighters swept the golds in all four events they had participated in.
A total of 14 gold medals are on offer in the boxing competition, and the Thai women pugilists already captured four of the first six gold medals at stake. Today, eight more gold medals are up for grabs in the men’s category.
On Saturday night, Thailand ruled the ring with four gold medals from flyweight Sopida Satumrum, bantamweight Peamwilai Laoperm, featherweight Tassamalee Thongjan and lightweight Sudaporn Seesondee. Indonesia and the Philippines shared one gold apiece.
Four more Thai boxers – bantamweight Worapoj Petchkoom, light flyweight Kaeo Pongprayoon, light flyweight Chatchai Butdee and welterweight Apichet Saensit – will fight in today’s finals.
Meanwhile, East Timor yesterday made history when they captured the first SEA Games gold ever in shinjo kenpo, a Japanese martial art.