|Nguyễn Thị Huyền of Việt Nam runs in the women's 400m hurdles event in the 32nd SEA Games on Thursday in Cambodia. Huyền's 12th gold makes her the most successful SEA Games runner of all time. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Thị Huyền becomes the most successful SEA Games runner ever after winning her 12th gold medal on May 11 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The Vietnamese runner put on an incredible sprint in the last 10m to finish first in the women's 400m hurdles with a time of 56.29sec.
She was followed by Robin Lauren Crisostomo Brown of the Philippines and Việt Nam's Nguyễn Thị Ngọc.
With 12 golds, Huyền has overtaken long-distance runner Triyaningsih Triyaningsih of Indonesia in the top ranking. The 35-year-old Triyaningsih won 11 golds.
"Nothing can compare with my happiness right now," said Huyền, who failed to defend her title in the 400m sprint on Wednesday. "I am very happy with the gold."
"I faced a mental challenge because of the defeat yesterday. I knew that the naturalised Filipino runner was strong. My coach and I decided that I would follow her most of the race before sprinting in the last metres.
"To me, winning this gold at my age (29) is a success, and I am happy for that."
Huyền, who won silver from the Asian Indoor Athletics Championship last month, will have another chance at gold when she competes in the 4x400m on Friday.
Minutes later, young Nguyễn Thị Thu Hà came first in the women's 800m event.
|Nguyến Thị Thu Hà of Việt Nam finishes first in the women's 800m event. — VNA/VNS Photo|
Although Hà and teammate Bùi Thị Ngân are new faces at the SEA Games, they took the responsibility of defending Việt Nam's top position. Việt Nam has dominated this category for 24 years.
The duo successfully completed their mission.
Bernalin Bejoy of the Philippines took the lead early and left the rest behind. Hà and Ngân remained in the main pack until the last 100m. They both sprinted fast to pass Bejoy and finished first and second, respectively.
“It is surprising gold," said Hà. "We are coming here as newbies. We strictly follow our plan and try to run like in our training. It makes us feel comfortable. After chasing, we made good time and won."
"Thank you, coaches and people, for supporting us. It is so moving with a win in our SEA Games debut."
|Nguyễn Linh Na defends her gold in the women's heptathlon. — VNA/VNS Photo|
Later, Nguyễn Linh Na well defended her No 1 place in the women's heptathlon event.
Na showed off her high performance in all seven events to stay on top with 5,403 points.
Sarah Noveno Dequinan of the Philippines came second, and Sunisa Khotseemueang from Thailand were third.
It was Na's second gold medal after she won and set a Games record in 2022 in Hà Nội.
Na said despite a win, she was not satisfied because in some events, she did not perform best.
Another medallist of Việt Nam was Lương Đức Phước with a silver in the men's 800m. He failed to defend his title, which went to Cambodian Chhun Bunthorn, who suddenly made a rocket run to cross the finish line first.
|Swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng wins his third individual gold in the men's 400m freestyle. — VNA/VNS Photo|
In swimming, Nguyễn Huy Hoàng collected another gold for Việt Nam in the men's 400m freestyle. He then took part in the 200m butterfly but did not succeed, losing his top place to Singaporean Jung Yi Ong.
Việt Nam secured a bronze through Hồ Nguyễn Duy Khoa.
Later, Võ Thị Mỹ Tiên won a bronze in the women's 800m freestyle, ending the swimming team campaign.
|Triệu Thị Phương Thủy (left) fights to win gold in the women's 51kg Kun Kmer. — VNA/VNS Photo|
Martial artists added two golds for Việt Nam in Kun Khmer. Triệu Thị Phương Thủy won in the women's 51kg and Bùi Yến Ly in the women's 57kg.
Despite fighting against the host's Soeng Moeuy, Thủy successfully dominated and scored points in all three rounds for her gold.
Thủy was the Muay Thai fighter who won a bronze in the World Championships in 2019.
Last Games, she competed in Muay Thai but was unexpectedly beaten from the semi-finals by Moeuy.
She said last year's loss motivated her to perform better this time in Kun Khmer, which was nearly similar to Muay Thai.
The Kun Khmer artists also secured three silvers to end the team's SEA Games campaign.
Other medallists were cyclist Nguyễn Thị Thật with a silver in the women's road criterium, and fencer Nguyễn Tiến Nhật in the men's individual epee. VNS