Việt Nam earns swimming, walking golds, places fourth in tally

May 06, 2023 - 22:11
Việt Nam wrapped up the first day of the SEA Games competition with two gold medals in swimming and walk race, sealing a total of six titles in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

SEA Games

Trần Hưng Nguyên of Việt Nam wins gold in the men's 200, IM event on May 6. VNA/VNS Photos

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam wrapped up the first day of the SEA Games competition with two gold medals in swimming and race walking, sealing a total of six titles in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Swimmer Trần Hưng Nguyên defended his title in the men's 200m individual medley at the Morodok Techno Sport Complex's Aquatic Centre.

Despite being the reigning champion, Nguyên started in lane 6. But it seemed not to create difficulty for the 20-year-old athlete.

Trần Hưng Nguyên secures the first gold for Việt Nam in swimming.

Coming to the Games without his best form after a shoulder injury in December, Nguyên did not start well, he was left far behind after the first 50m of butterfly. However, his strong point of backstroke helped him to narrow the gap before going to lead the race after the second stroke. In the last two, no one could catch up with Nguyên and he finished first with a time of 2min 1.28sec.

Dulyawat Kaewsriyong of Thailand and Tan Zachary Ian of Singapore were second and third, respectively.

"This is my most difficult gold medal because of the injury that I suffered before this Games. I predicted challenges and pressure prior to the competition. But I have tried my best to overcome all to win," Nguyên told Vietnam News Agency.

"To me, the biggest obstacle is myself. It is said that the No. 2-ranked competitor will have only one rival to beat but the No. 1 will have thousands of rivals. In my opinion, (among these thousands) I have to overcome me first. This result is not as good as I expected but I have done all I can and am happy with my achievement," he said.

Following his gold, his teammate Jeremie Loic Nino Lương came third in the men's 100m freestyle to earn a bronze.

Lương swam in a time of 49.69sec behind two athletes of Singapore, Jonathan Tan and Quah Zheng Wen.

Vietnamese swimmers also competed in the women's 50m breaststroke, men's 100m backstroke and women's 4x100m freestyle but did not make the top three.

Nguyễn Thị Thanh Phúc competes in the women's 20km walk race. Photo

In the walk race, Nguyễn Thị Thanh Phúc met with no difficulty to win her fifth title in six times at the SEA Games.

She overcame all other five rivals to finish first in the 20km race with a time of 1hr 55.02min.

She was followed by walkers from Indonesia and Thailand.

Her teammate Nguyễn Thị Vân made her debut at the SEA Games and finished sixth.

Nguyễn Thị Thanh Phúc bags the first athletic title for Việt Nam. Photo

Speaking with reporters, Phúc said although she practised in Siem Reap for days to get familiar with the hot weather, it was still a big challenge.

Phúc's gold was the sixth of Việt Nam's delegation and the first of the athletics team, which set a goal of winning up to 17 golds to place first in the medal tally.

Her sibling Nguyễn Thành Ngưng won a silver in the men's class.

Ngưng has taken part in several Games but his best result was a bronze, although he has always been one of the top title favourites.

This year, he walked in 1:45.36 and was behind Hendro Hendro of Indonesia. Pyae Phyo Htun of Myanmar was third.

Defending champion Võ Xuân Vĩnh of Việt Nam had an unsuccessful event with a sixth-place finish.

In other sports, a big surprise happened in boxing as world silver medalist Nguyễn Thị Tâm of Việt Nam was ousted from the women's 54kg class.

She was technically knocked out by Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand in the first round.

Tâm had to gain weight from 51kg to 54kg for the competition. This was blamed as the main reason for her defeat.

The jujitsu team won two medals. Cấn Văn Thắng took silver in the men's 62kg and Lê Thị Thương earned a bronze in the women's 57kg.

Cấn Văn Thắng and his coach pose with a silver in men's jujitsu 62kg. VNS Photo Bùi ĐÌnh Tiến

After the first day, Việt Nam earned five golds, five silvers and 13 bronzes to place fourth in the medal tally.

The top three are Cambodia with 15 golds, Indonesia with seven golds and the Philippines with five. VNS