Thailand tries to hold off Vietnam at SEA Games, 2nd Ld-Writethru


VIENTIANE, Laos (AP) — Vietnam drew level with Thailand in the gold medal tally at the Southeast Asian Games on Wednesday, ensuring the race for the top of the standings will go down to the wire.

Vietnam picked up further golds in athletics, shooting, archery, shuttlecock, petanque and the martial arts of judo and wushu to take its tally to 61, level with Thailand, by late Wednesday. Thailand topped the standings by virtue of more silver medals: 68 to 55.

Thursday was the last major day of competition, with only a handful of golds available on Friday’s closing day.

However Vietnam would have taken the lead in the standings had it not lost two women’s boxing finals to Thai opponents. In the bantamweight division, Thassamalee Thongjan beat Doan Thi Lien, and in featherweight, Peamwilai Laopeam defeated Ngo Thi Chung.

Thailand took out the women’s volleyball final to highlight its performance Wednesday, beating Laos in the final. It took further golds in athletics, archery, judo, wrestling, wushu and petanque.

Indonesia dominated the track events. Agus Prayogo burst clear midway through the race to win the men’s 10,000 meters in 29 minutes, 51.40 seconds; Dedeh Erawati defended her title in the women’s 100-meter hurdles in 13.34 seconds; and Suryo Agung Wibowo claimed the 200 meters.

Sprint king Wibowo set his sights on capturing three golds at the games after surprising himself with victory in 20.85 seconds.

“I was surprised since my focus was on the 100. My preparation wasn’t so good and I had not run the 200 for two years,” he said. “But I have worked on my technique. I just tried to be one with the track. The time was good enough for me.”

Having already won the 100 meters in a personal best of 10.17, he was now targetting a sprint hat trick by claiming the 4×100 relay. He almost achieved the feat at the 2007 SEA Games, when he won both individual sprints but the team finished second in the relay.

Thailand took two track golds, and Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam one apiece. Three games records were broken.

Jamras Rittidet, 25, of Thailand broke the men’s 110-meter hurdle record of 13.91 with a 13.89 time, saying his next goal was victory at the Asian Games.

There was a record in the women’s long jump when defending champion Marstella Torres of the Philippines leapt for 6.68 meters. The record of 6.52 had stood since 1989.

And in the men’s pole vault when Thailand’s Kreeta Sintawacheewa soared to 5.21 meters to break the record of 5.10.

Vietnam’s Vu Thi Huong, 23, completed the 100 meters and 200 meters double, with her 200-meters time of 23.31 being just 0.01 off the SEA Games record.

Singapore’s Wong Tuck Jim, 40, captured gold in the men’s discus with a toss of 53.60 meters.