Athletes of 10 associations exceed expectations as event ends
published : 18 May 2023 at 04:01
newspaper section: Sports
writer: Bangkok Post and AFP
Athletics, boxing and taekwondo were among Thailand's most successful sports at the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia which ended on Wednesday.
Vietnam retained the overall title with 136 gold medals, ahead of Thailand who took home 108 golds.
Indonesia were third with 87 golds, just six more than Cambodia's tally. The Cambodians got only nine golds at the previous edition.
Ahead of the tournament, the Thai sports associations, which took part in Cambodia 2023, that began on May 5, predicted they would win a total of 112 gold medals.
Ten associations did better than their targets including athletics, boxing, taekwondo and cricket.
The track and field association had eyed 12 golds but won 16.
Thailand were best overall in athletics, with sprinter Soraoat Dapbang winning the men's 100m and 200m crowns.
It's unfortunate that teenage sprint king Puripol Boonson's campaign to defend his titles at the Games ended prematurely due to injury sustained during the first race.
Boxers claimed nine titles from their projected five, and taekwondo exponents got seven golds, two more than their target, including one from Olympic champion Panipak Wongpattanakit.
A total of 15 associations failed to meet their targets, including football.
The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) had aimed to win two golds but their athletes could only get silver in the men's event and bronze in the women's category.
The Kingdom's medal hopes were hobbled by its boycott of Kun Khmer -- objecting to the use of that name for a sport more widely known as Muay Thai.
The controversial use of the Cambodian name for the "art of the eight limbs" is a testament to how SEA Games rules tend to be kind to the home country.
Four of Vietnam's 136 golds were won by track star Nguyen Thi Oanh, who dominated the women's 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m, and 3,000m steeplechase.
They also won the women's football with a 2-0 victory in the final over Myanmar, and topped the gymnastics with nine golds.
Vietnam did well too in combat sports, including in the hosts' traditional martial art of Kun Bokator, another event Thailand did not take part in.
The Philippines were fifth in the medals table but reclaimed gold in men's basketball -- the sport enjoys huge popularity in the country.
Singapore came sixth, led by their all-conquering swimmers and sprinter Shanti Pereira.
The next SEA Games will be in Thailand in 2025.
- sea games