Thais richer with bonus of B226m

Thais richer with bonus of B226m

Games end as hosts earn bragging rights

Although Thailand failed to win back the overall title and could not reach their gold medal target at the SEA Games in the Philippines, the government will still have to pay the medallists, as well as their coaches and associations, 226 million baht in bonuses.

Thai athletes and officials attend the closing ceremony.

The Thais claimed 92 gold, 103 silver and 123 bronze medals and came behind the Philippines (149-117-121) and Vietnam (98-85-105).

The 30th edition of the biennial event ended last night with the closing ceremony at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium in New Clark City.

The next SEA Games will be held in Vietnam in 2021.

Thailand initially aimed to take home 121 gold medals and reclaim the overall title at the Philippines Games.

But the Kingdom lowered the target to 100 gold medals several days before the tournament closed after they missed out on a lot of titles they had expected to win.

In the end, Thailand missed the century mark by eight gold medals and were only the third best nation at Philippines 2019.

According to the National Sports Development Fund's (NSDF) bonus scheme for the SEA Games, a champion gets 300,000 baht, a silver medallist 150,000 baht and a bronze winner 75,000 baht.

The coaches and associations of the medallists also receive separate bonuses.

The NSDF said on Wednesday the Thai athletes, coaches and associations will receive a total of 226,150,500 baht in bonuses.

The biggest share -- 26,137,500 baht -- goes to the Rowing and Canoeing Association of Thailand whose athletes won only two gold, six silver and five bronze medals.

That is because of the high number of athletes in each discipline in the sport.

Track and field was Thailand's most successful sport at the Philippines Games with 12 gold, 11 silver and 12 bronze medals.

But the Athletic Association of Thailand, its athletes and coaches will receive only 18,225,000 baht in bonuses.

The Taekwondo Association of Thailand, whose athletes won seven gold, three silver and six gold medals, will receive a total bonus of 5.9 million baht.

The Cycling Association of Thailand (6-1-4) will receive 6.5 million baht, the Thailand Boxing Association (5-2-2) 2.9 million baht, the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (5-2-2) 5.1 million baht, and the Takraw Association of Thailand (3-0-0) 9.3 million baht, among other associations.

Home advantage

The Philippines easily topped the SEA Games medal table with 149 golds, continuing a rich tradition at the regional Olympics whose flexible sporting programme is usually skewed in the hosts' favour.

The Philippines' best ever haul comes after they dominated all debut sports at the 30th SEA Games, and reintroduced their national martial art of arnis whose only previous showing was in Manila in 2005.

The previous best for the country was a total of 112 golds achieved at Manila 2005, followed by 91 in 1991 -- also in Manila.

But the Filipinos only followed a trend at the biennial tournament, where eight of the last 12 editions finished with the hosts on top of the medal table.

Bragging rights are with the Filipinos for now, but with the next edition of the Games in Hanoi in 2021, it would be safe to assume Vietnam will hope to do one better than their second place this time around with 97.

Home advantage is a factor at many sports events including the Olympics, where hosts China topped the table for the first time in 2008 and Britain rose to third at London 2012.

But the effect is especially marked at the SEA Games, where the Philippines won just 24 golds at the last edition in Kuala Lumpur in 2017 when hosts Malaysia unsurprisingly finished top with 144 golds.

The top contributor to the Philippines' gold haul at the 2019 SEA Games was arnis, the little-known, stick-wielding martial art, with 14 out of the 20 golds available.

The hosts also won all six golds on the obstacle course, 10 out of 13 in dancesport, men's and women's golds in the 3x3 basketball and six out of eight in skateboarding -- all debut competitions at this year's record 56-sport event.

The Philippines also topped the table in eSports -- making its first appearance as a medal sport at a major Games -- with three of the six available.

Despite the gold rush, the hosts fell well short of the record number of wins which remains Indonesia's huge haul of 194 in Jakarta in 1997.

Thailand won 183 on home soil in 2007, and Indonesia bagged 182 when the Games returned to Jakarta and Palembang in 2011.

Vietnam secured 158 at Hanoi 2003, while Thailand got 157 in Chiang Mai in 1995. bangkok post/afp

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