MYANMAR - Thailand and Vietnam shared three golds apiece on the third day of the track and field competition at the 27th SEA Games at Wunna Theikdi Stadium. After ruling the roost in athletics with a haul of eight golds on the first two days, Thai athletes kept supplying gold for the country, capturing three out of the 10 medals at stake yesterday.
Thai sprinters had mixed luck in the 100m events. Youngster Jirapong Meenapra comfortably won the men's gold while favourite Neeranuch Klomdee could only pick up a silver in the women's race.
Jirapong, the 20-year-old from Surat Thani, trailed Indonesia's Iswandi Iswandi at half-way before accelerating over the final 30 metres to blaze home in style with a time of 10.48 seconds. Immediately, he embarked on a victory lap around the stadium by wrapping the national flag around his body. Iswandi and Singapore's Muhammad Amirudin Jamal came second and third after clocking 10.51s and 10.55s respectively. Thailand had lost the 100m gold to Indonesia in the previous three editions. Watchara Sondee, in the 2005 Games, was the last Thai to have won a gold. Indonesia's Suryo Agung Wibowo holds the Games record of 10.17s, set in 2009.
The women's event saw record-holder Vu Thi Huong of Vietnam clinch her fourth gold. Vu, who won the 100m gold in 2005, 2007, 2009 and a silver in 2011, led from the start to win in 11.59 seconds. Thailand's Neeranuch Klomdee was second in 11.85 secs and Tassaporn Wannakit came third in 11.91 secs.
Veteran Wassana Winatho captured her second gold in the women's 400m hurdles yesterday. Fresh from winning the hepathlon on Monday, the 33-year from Prachinburi made an incredible rally as Vietnam's Thi Lan Quach looked all set to cross the finish line. A determined Wassana lunged ahead at the finish line to snatch gold from the jaws of her rival and lay there for a while on the surface before being stretchered out.
Wassana clocked 58.85 secs, while Thi Lan Quach secured silver in 58.93 secs and Singapore's Dipna Lim Prasad was third in 59.96 secs.
Wassana never got worse than second place in the 400m hurdles since she won a gold on her debut in the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Games. She also claimed gold in 2005 and 2007. She clinched silver in 2003, 2009 and 2011. Thailand made it a one-two finish in the men's javelin, with Peerachet Jantra taking the gold with a new Games record of 76.3m. Hussadin Rodmanee finished second, also in a record effort of 75.46m.
Thailand's Titima Muangjan took silver in the women's triple jump with a Games record of 14.16m. The gold went to Indonesia's Maria Londa, who jumped a record 14.17m.
Filipino Eric Shauwn Cray won the men's 400m hurdles in 51.29 secs, while the men's 800m was won by Malaysia's Mohd Jironi Riduan with a time of 1.50.98 minutes. Vietnam's Thi Thao Do took the women's 800m gold in 2.05.52 minutes.
Earlier, Vietnam and Myanmar shared one gold apiece in the 5,000 metres, with Nguyen Van Lai taking the men's gold in 14.19.35 minutes and Phyu War Thet making the hosts proud by winning the women's race in 16.06.01 minutes.
The Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia took one gold apiece. A total of nine gold medals are up for grabs today with the highlight being the men's and women's 200-metre events.
Meanwhile, Thai cyclists took gold and silver medals in the women's 128km individual road race. Wilanwan Kunlapha timed 4:11.17 hours for gold and Jutatip Maneephan 4:15.07 for silver.
In the men's chess individual event, Warot Kananub and Uaychai Kongsee took gold and silver for Thailand.