|Sad call: Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc cries on the podium after losing her title because of referees' unfair decision.
NAY PYI TAW (VNS)— Ma Minh Cam failed to defend his title at the billiard and snooker men's carom 1-cushion event at the continuing Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
However he did not feel pained since he lost 85-100 to his so-called ‘Asian no-loss' rival, Dang Dinh Tien, in an all-Vietnamese final match yesterday.
After a four-year absence, senior player Tien returned to the SEA Games competition and met with no difficulty in winning the crown which he also won at the 2009 Games in Laos.
The final match seemed to be the most difficult game in his tourney, as Cam was his teammate at the HCM City Club. He earlier defeated well-known player Efren Reyes of the Philippines in the semi-final round.
Tien, 53, is the oldest athlete on the Viet Nam Team, celebrating his victory with a kiss to the table.
"Both of us were a little nervous ahead of the final. We are at the same club so we clearly know each other's playing style and capacity, as well as training schedules," said Tien.
"I think that I am a little luckier and less nervous than he was, so I won," he added.
The champion, who lost two first tips of the right-hand's little finger in an accident, said he would retire after this SEA Games competition.
Also, another athlete said she would retire following these SEA Games.
|Age is just a number: Viet Nam's oldest man Dang Dinh Tien wins a gold medal in the carom 1-cushion event at the ongoing SEA Games. — VNA/VNS Photos Quang Nhut
Karate team member Vu Thi Nguyet Anh said her gold medal in the women's 48kg category on Saturday would be her gift to all fans before her retirement. Anh's title was the only one earned by the kumite (combat) squad at the Games.
Before coming to Myanmar, Anh spent more than two years having treatments for her knees, which only recovered several months ago.
It is the fifth golf in five consecutive Games for Anh.
"I will rest after these Games. After years of competition, I have tasted everything and now it is time to give a chance to my younger teammates," said Anh.
Tears of the walker
She broke into tears when she was the second to cross the finish line.
This meant that Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc failed to defend her 20km walk title, and she cried because of an unfair decision by the juries, she claimed.
The London Olympian was in her final metres to the finish when she saw Saw Mar Lar New of Myanmar run along to win the race, but judges ignored her fault and recognized her as the winner of the event, claimed officials.
"We knew that there would be challenges including unfair decisions from the jury in this event, but this was too obvious," said Duong Duc Thuy, head of the Athletics Department of the Viet Nam Sports Administration.
"We were confident of winning a gold in this event because Phuc had no worthy rivals in the region. But two walkers from Myanmar ran in the last kilometers but received no penalties," said coach Tran Anh Hiep.
"It is unfair competition. I have tried and really focused on the tournament, in which I wanted to defend my title. However, it is unjust because of the juries. I could not do anything, but saw her running away," Phuc said.
This was nearly the same as swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien faced on Saturday.
Vien came in second in the women's 100m backstroke event, as the gold medal went to Singapore's Tao Li.
However, a video record showed that Li made a mistake with her start but juries, most of them being Singaporean, did not look at the tape and decided to uphold their final decision.
"She (Tao Li) faulted and we had evidence. But they (judges) rejected our complaint," said coach Dang Anh Tuan.
It was also a disappointing day for the track-and-field team, whose golden hopes did not shine yesterday.
Apart from Phuc's silver medal, the team also won medals in the men's walk by Vo Xuan Vinh, in the women's javelin by Le Thi Phuong and women's 400m by Quach Thi Lan. Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Oanh came in third in the women's 400m and Pham Van Lam claimed a bronze medal in the men's long jump.
Swimmer Lam Quang Nhat was an exception to the day of poor results for Viet Nam with a surprised gold medal in the men's 1,500m freestyle race.
Nhat came to the SEA Games as an unseeded athlete. However, being under less pressure helped him to swim free and win the event, which had never been a strong point for Viet Nam.
Earlier, all other title favourites, including Anh Vien and Hoang Quy Phuoc, failed to enter the top three in their categories.
In martial art news, the pencak silat squad completed their winning three gold medals yesterday.
Le Si Kien successfully won the men's U85kg category. Also, teammates Nguyen Duy Tuyen triumphed in the U80kg pool in his SEA Games debut and Nguyen Thi Yen was crowned in the women's U75kg class.
Also yesterday, the team earned three silver medals from world champion Pham Van Ty (men's U75kg), Dang Toan Thang (men's U70kg) and Vo Duy Phuong (women's 55kg).
"A total of three golds, five silvers and one bronze is an acceptable result for the pencak silat athletes. Particularly because the hosts have cancelled a number of events in which we are strong fighters, especially women's categories," said Nguyen Ngoc Anh, head of the team.
Dagon Shooting Range saw two titles going to Viet Nam.
The Vietnamese overcame Malaysia and Singapore in the men's team 10m air pistol event to take a gold medal.
Three men, Hoang Xuan Vinh, Tran Quoc Cuong and Ho Thanh Hai, shot 1,705 points, leaving their runners-up slightly behind. Singapore had 1,703 points and Malaysia received 1,702.
Later Vinh won his third SEA Games gold medal in the men's individual 10m air pistol event.
The Olympian scored 199.7points. Chew Eddy of Malaysia was second with 198 and Lim Swee Hon of Singapore was third with 176.6 points.
With six gold medals in total, the marksmen won three times more than they planned.
The shooting events will continue today.
In women's volleyball, the Vietnamese team, even with three team members suffering food poisoning, defeated Indonesia 25-13, 25-14, 25-23 in the semi-final match.
They not only earned some matter of revenge for the defeat of the men's team to Indonesia on Saturday, but also secured a berth in the finals where they will play Thailand.
Yesterday also saw medals for Viet Nam in the weightlifting (one silver and two bronzes), karate (bronze) and petanque (bronze).
After four days of competitions following the opening ceremony, Viet Nam is in third place with 36 gold medals. Thailand, meanwhile, leaped to the top, winning 45 titles, and host Myanmar is second with 38 gold medals. — VNS