|Do Thi Thao (left) won 800m gold with a time of 2:05.52. — VNS Photo
NAY PYI TAW, MYANMAR (VNS)— Vietnamese sports fans have been left with a mixed feeling of suspense, as good and sad news filtered through from Wunna Theikdi Stadium with victories and failures by their athletes.
The first good news of the day came early yesterday morning as long-distance runner Nguyen Van Lai emerged victorious in the men's 5,000m event on the seventh day of competitions at the ongoing 27th Southeast Asian Games.
Lai maintained a close distance with his opponents for much of the race, before speeding up in the last lap to overtake the runners and cross the finish line with a time of 14:19.35. The silver medal went to a Thai runner and the bronze medal belonged to an Indonesian.
But the impressive victory of the day came from sprinter Vu Thi Huong, given that she has been out of the spotlight for the past two years and faced grave doubts over her ability to return to the winner's podium.
But that huge pressure did not stop Huong, instead it only made her victory more glorious.
Huong put behind her one of the lowest points and most disappointing times in her career from two years ago to prove she has not passed her peak, by reclaiming her gold medal in her 100m strongest event, and her sixth gold medal in the history of the Games.
Huong did not make a very strong start and had not been able to create an advantage until around 50m, when she releases her long and powerful strides to pull away towards the finish line, before comfortably crossing with a time of 11.56 seconds.
It is not her best personal time, but still enough to beat Thai runners, who occupied two remaining medal positions, with Neeranuch Klomdee finishing second at 11.85 and Tassaporn Wannakit third at 11.91.
The second track and field gold medal belonged to Do Thi Thao, who lived up to expectations as a deserved replacement to middle-distance star runner Truong Thanh Hang, who could not recover from her injury in time to defend her titles at the Games, to win 800m gold with a time of 2:05.52.
Besides Huong and Lai's success, there was some disappointment as Dao Xuan Cuong failed to defend his title in the men's 400m hurdles. Cuong crossed the finish line in second place to settle for a silver medal.
Teenager Quach Thi Lan, one of the country's gold hopes in track-and-field, has not stood on the winner's podium yet, even though she had competed in her two favourite events. Lan came in second in both 400m and 400m hurdles events.
Duong Van Thai also caused a large disappointment, as he could not defend his title in the men's 800m, managing to finish in third place.
Nguyen Truong Giang won a bronze medal in the men's javelin event, with his best throw of 63m69, while in the women's triple jump Tran Hue Hoa came in third place with her best jump of 14.12m.
Meanwhile, Le Ngoc Mai, Trieu Thi Hoa Hong and Nguyen Thuy Dung won Viet Nam's seventh gold medal by winning the women's 25m sport team pistol event.
Bui Thi Quynh defeated her Thai opponent in the final to win the first gold medal in Thai Muay competition.
In rowing, Vietnamese rowers won a silver medal in the women's quad scull and a bronze medal in the men's eight. Duong Thanh Binh and Nguyen Dinh Huy clinched a bronze in the lightweight men's pair.
Archery also brought home a silver medal in the women's recurve team, losing to Indonesia 200-212 in the final, despite getting off to a good start.
In cycling, Nguyen Thi That won a bronze medal in the women's 128km road race.
In pentaque, Nguyen Van Quang won a silver medal after losing to the Thai opponent 24-38 in the final. — VNS