Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên poses with her gold medal (centre) with the two runners-up in the women's 200m backstroke. — Photo 24.com.vn
HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên completed her title hat trick after winning two gold medals yesterday at the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines.
The golden swimmer of Việt Nam won in the women's 200m freestyle and 200m backstroke an hour apart at the New Clark City Aquatic Centre.
Viên was No 1 seed in both events after her best performance from the qualifications in the morning.
The defending champion made a slower start than her rivals in the 200m freestyle soon caught up and kept the lead to the end. She finished her first with a time of 2min 0.75sec.
Natthanan Junkrajang of Thailand came second, followed by Remedy Rule of the hosts.
Later, Viên continued defending her title in the 200m backstroke. This time she went ahead from the beginning and came first after 2:15.32.
Nurul Fajar Fitriyati of Indonesia and Chloe Kennedy Anne Isleta of the Philippines were second and third, respectively.
It was Viên's third gold at the Games after the first one in the 200m individual medley on December 4.
"I am pleased with these gold medals but not yet really happy because the results are not as good as I expected," said Viên.
"I always tell myself to do best in all competitions. But in these Games I am registered in many classes so I may not reach my targets. However, I will try harder and will compete my task," she said.
Viên is still competing in other categories including the 100m backstroke and 400m freestyle today.
At the two previous Games, Viên took home eight gold medals and became Việt Nam's 'richest' athlete.
Also yesterday afternoon, the Vietnamese swimming team pocketed two bronzes in the men's butterfly and 4x100m freestyle relay.
The fencing team secured their third title in Manila after Vũ Thành An and his teammates came from behind to beat Thailand 45-39 in the men's sabre team final.
Earlier, the women's sabre team earned a silver medal.
Judoka Lê Anh Tài added a gold to Việt Nam's bag after he won over Kittipong Hantratin of Thailand in the men's U90kg discipline.
His female teammate Nguyễn Thị Như Ý came second in the women's over-78kg class.
The judo team also collected two bronzes thanks to Võ Thị Phương Quỳnh in the women's U78kg and Nguyễn Châu Hoàng Lân in the men's over-100kg
Việt Nam's strong sport canoeing also took a gold in the first day of competition yesterday.
Defending champion Trương Thị Phương triumphed in the women's 500m. Earlier, Trần Văn Vũ finished second in the men's 1.000m kayaking while his teammate Trần Thành was at third with a bronze.
Cyclist Nguyễn Thị Thật made her name in the medal tally after winning in the women's individual road race mass start event. The reigning champion finished the race in a time of 3hr 23.57min, leaving her rivals, Prado Jermyn of the hosts and Priatna Ayustina of Indonesia behind.
It is the second gold for the cycling squad after the first one in the women's cross country mountain bike.
The first gold medal of the day was in tennis, marking a turning point in the history of the sport at the SEA Games.
Lý Hoàng Nam overcame his teammate Daniel Cao Nguyễn 6-2, 6-4 in the men's singles final and became the first Vietnamese tennis player winning in the regional biennial sporting festival.
"Nguyễn is considered stronger than me prior to the final. And I knew it would be a tough match," said Nam who is seeded No 3, who has lost to No 1 Nguyễn twice weeks ago in international tournaments in Việt Nam.
"I played with a comfortable mind while it would be a little pressure for him as it is his first SEA Games. While I did a good job he made many errors. It is the main reason for my win," Nam said.
"Nam is younger and more agile. He is a player with great competitive mind. Nguyễn, on the other side, has good technique and is more experienced. Any of them is worthy to win the final match. And it is good that the gold belongs to Việt Nam, a historic victory," said Nguyễn Trọng Hổ, Việt Nam's deputy chef de mission.
Tennis ended yesterday and it was the most successful Games of Việt Nam as they also pocketed two silvers and three bronzes.
Vũ Thành An screams after helping Việt Nam win the men's sabre team event yesterday. — Photo plo.vn
After six days of competitions, the Philippines are stably on top with 71 golds. Indonesia replaced Việt Nam in the second position with 40 golds. Việt Nam have 38 titles to place third. — VNS