|Turning point: Le Trong Hinh won the first ever gold for Viet Nam in the men's 200m event at the Singapore SEA Games. — VNS Photo Quoc Khanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Yesterday turned out to be a golden day for Viet Nam as it bagged 15 gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
On the fifth day of the Games, runners turned golden athletes, grabbing five titles, followed by gymnasts who took four.
Le Trong Hinh won his gold in the men's 200m event, which marked a turning point for Viet Nam, as it was the first time that a Vietnamese runner tasted victory in this category.
This was the second SEA Games for Hinh who was badly disjointed on Tuesday after failing in the 100m event, when he was faced with ‘imported' athletes of other teams.
Hinh received no attention before the 200m final, although he had the best result among eight finalists.
He did not have a good start either, but sprinted determinedly in the last 20m and finished with a time of 20.89sec.
Earlier, his teammate Nguyen Thi Huyen won and set a record in women's 400m hurdles.
Huyen completed her race in 56.15sec, pulling down the 20-year-old record of 56.78sec set by Thailand's Srithua Reawadee in 1995.
It was the second record of the athletics team, after Nguyen Van Lai's new height in the men's 5,000m competition on Tuesday.
Huyen's feat also makes her the first Vietnamese runner to qualify for Olympics in Brazil next summer.
"I had struggled with my health while preparing for the SEA Games. However, I felt really confident and strong when the race started, and I won," said Huyen.
Evidently happy with Huyen's result, coach Vu Ngoc Loi, however, said his athlete could get better results.
"Huyen has become the first Vietnamese to qualify for Olympics. It is good news but during trainings, she had performed much better. We are now thinking about Rio," Loi said.
He agreed that this achievement will strongly support her in the next two events that will take place next.
Do Thi Thao and Duong Van Thai brought Viet Nam its third and fourth gold in athletics by successfully defending their titles in the women's and men's 800m events, respectively.
Thao easily went ahead after her start and left all her rivals well behind, before crossing the finish line.
Thai, however, overtook his rival, runner-up Guarte Mervin of the Philippines, in a close gap in the last seconds.
The fifth gold of the team went to ‘iron man' Nguyen Van Hue who triumphed in the men's decathlon event.
Hue, who won three out of 10 events, finally grabbed 7.232 points to claim his first-ever title.
In early afternoon, youngster Dinh Phuong Thanh won the men's horizontal bar and parallel bars events.
Thanh becomes the richest gymnast, with four titles from his first SEA Games.
His female teammate Phan Thi Ha Thanh scored her third gold in the beam event, with 13.996 points.
Le Thanh Tung perfected the day with a gold in the men's vault, with 15.000.
In boxing, Le Thi Bang bagged a sweet result, after training hard for years.
|Swinging for gold: Dinh Phuong Thanh of Viet Nam in action during the horizontal bar event final at the Bishan Sports Hall during the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore. — AFP/VNA Photo
Bang was expected to win a gold in Singapore after she bagged a bronze medal from the Asian Games last year in South Korea.
She met no difficulty entering the final of the women's 53kg class, where she beat Petecio Nesthy of the Philippines 2-1.
"I had planned to quit after suffering too many injuries and pain during training. It was so bad that I was scared to look in the mirror," said Bang.
However, the girl tried harder, with her family supporting her to continue boxing.
She successfully changed the colour of her medal from silver, which she won two years ago, to gold.
Earlier, her teammate Nguyen Thi Yen defeated Magno Irish of the Philippines in the women's 51kg final to take her first gold.
Truong Dinh Hoang who came to Singapore for more experience surprised with his triumph in men's 75kg pool.
The 25-year-old beat title favourite Khankhokhrue Aphisit of Thailand 3-0 in the final match.
In swimming, golden girl Nguyen Thi Anh Vien continued shining with a gold and a record in women's 400m freestyle.
Vien rapidly splashed to the finish, with a time of 4:08.66, and set a record, which is her eighth in Singapore.
Earlier, Lam Quang Nhat successfully protected his title in men's 1,500m freestyle. Nhat came first in 15:31.03 record time.
The pancak silat event that started yesterday saw Viet Nam's Hoang Quang Trung on the top podium in the men's tunggal (performance) class.
Trung persuaded all judgers with his outstanding performance and won 464 points. He was followed by Sugianto Sugianto of Indonesia and Abdul Rahman Muhammad of the hosts.
Apart from 15 gold medals, Vietnamese also bagged five silver and five bronze medals in different events.
After five days, Singapore remained the leading delegation, with 60 gold and Viet Nam, with 48 titles, took back their second position from Thailand who have won 45. — VNS