Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam dominated the 1,500m events at the SEA Games after winning both the men’s and women’s titles in the category at the National Stadium Kuala Lumpur Sport City yesterday.
Dương Văn Thái secured his second title in the games after finishing first in the men’s 1,500m with a timing of 3min 51.42sec.
Thái and his teammate Đỗ Quốc Luật started the race perfectly with Luật staying ahead, and Thái close behind to lead in the first two laps around the stadium.
Thailand’s Yothin Yaprajan and Malaysia’s Ahmad Luth Hamizan passed the Vietnamese duo in the next lap.
For some time, Thái and Luật remained under their shadow, but it seemed they had a plan.
When the bell rang to signal the last lap, Luật stayed with the group, but Thái sprinted away to separate from the bunch and crossed the finish line solo.
Yaprajan was second and Filipino Mervin Guarte was third.
On Wednesday, Thái claimed his first gold in the 800m event.
Two years ago, he had grabbed a double at the Singapore Games.
A few dozen minutes earlier, his teammate Nguyễn Thị Oanh took the women’s title with an impressive finish.
Oanh raced ahead of the group right from the start. In no time, she increased the gap with the other runners and crossed the line more than 10 seconds before her closest rival and teammate Vũ Thị Ly.
Laos’ Inthakoumman Lodkeo grabbed the bronze.
Oanh’s victory is considered special, as she participated in the 1,500m only because her favourite event 3,000m steeplechase is not being organised in Malaysia.
However, it was an effortless transition for the 22-year-old.
“It is not my regular category, but I switched to 1,500m, because at the same time, the national team needed an athlete to take part in the SEA Games. Coming in to the stadium, I only focussed on running, because it was my first time, and I had no idea about my rivals,” said Oanh, who needed only two months of training to win in Malaysia. She did not take part in any tournament either to warm up for the games.
In Singapore two years ago, Oanh was a silver medallist in the 3,000m steeplechase.
“I met with a number of difficulties when training for the 1,500m race. My form was not ideal for the event, so it was difficult for me to push up my speed. I faced the problem of stiff legs after practices, for which I needed several rest hours at the stadium before returning home,” she said.
Oanh will compete in the 5,000m run in the next few days.
The karate team exceeded their gold target with their fourth and fifth gold medals yesterday at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Trio Nguyễn Thị Hằng, Lê Thị Khánh Ly and Nguyễn Thị Phương, coached by former world champion Nguyễn Hoàng Ngân, beat the Malaysian athletes to take the women’s kata (performance) title.
It was an unexpected gold medal for Việt Nam, as prior to the games, Ngân had said she was not thinking of winning, because her athletes were still young and inexperienced. She just wanted her athletes to perform their best.
Later, the men’s kumite (combat) team defeated Thailand 3-0 to take the gold.
The women’s kumite lost 1-2 to Malaysia and took the silver.
Việt Nam tennis hope Lý Hoàng Nam, who is world No. 476, failed to bring home the first ever gold for the country after he lost in the semi-finals of the men’s singles event.
The No. 1 seed was unexpectedly defeated 4-6, 3-6 by No. 5 Jirat Navasirisomboon of Thailand.
It was a match that Nam said his rival, nearly 500 rungs below Nam in the world ranking, played like a prodigy.
He also blamed the umpire for making mistakes, which strongly affected the results of the match.
“He made serious mistakes. He called my shots out, but did not react when Navasirisomboon’s shots were out,” he said.
Head of tennis department Đoàn Quốc Cường commented that the organisers had let an Indonesian perform the umpiring in the match, despite knowing that No. 2 seed Indonesian Christopher Rungkat awaited Nam in the final, if he won the semi-final match.
Rungkat beat another Vietnamese Nguyễn Hoàng Thiên in the quarter-finals.
After losing the semi-finals, Nam took the bronze medal.
Two hours later, Nam, pairing with Thiên, played the doubles semi-finals against Thailand’s twins Somchat Ratiwatana and Somchai Ratiwatana.
The Vietnamese could not find a way to win against the world top 100 pair, losing 0-6, 2-6, and took another bronze.
In the cycling event, veteran Mai Nguyễn Hưng took a bronze medal in the men’s 132km mass.
Athletes from Thailand and Malaysia secured the top two places.
It was the third medal for Việt Nam after two gold medals from Nguyễn Thị Thật in the women’s events earlier this week. — VNS