Thai sprinters blaze the track

Thai sprinters blaze the track

Thailand claimed both the gold medals in the sprint relays on the second day of the track and field competition in the 27th SEA Games yesterday.

A total of seven gold medals were up for grabs in athletics yesterday with the men's and women's 4x100m relays the day’s highlights.

Singapore and Indonesia were the two biggest threats to the Thais’ bid for the men's relay gold. Thailand were determined to win back the gold after failing to be among the top-three teams in the Games held in Indonesia two years ago.

Thailand fielded youngsters Ruttanapon Sowan, Aphisit Promkaew and Jirapong Meenapra, with veteran Suppachai Chimdee running the anchor leg. Suppachai did not disappoint.

Singapore and Thailand started well to set up a hard duel in the first three legs. However, the tall Suppachai made the big difference, running the last leg with elan. He sprinted past Singapore's Muhammad Amirudin Jamal to seize the lead for good and stormed home in style in 39.75 seconds. Singapore crossed the finish line second in 39.79 secs and Indonesia came third with a time of 40.15 secs.

In the women's relay event, Thailand's Phatsorn Jaksuninkorn, Neeranuch Klomdee, Tassaporn Wannakit and Nongnuch Sanrat proved too strong for other challengers to cross the finish line first in 44.42 seconds. Vietnam and Indonesia finished second and third in 44.99 and 45.88 seconds respectively.

Earlier, Panwat Gimsrang handed Thailand the day’s first gold in track and field competition with a 54.96m effort in the hammer throw. Malaysia's Renee Kelly Lee Casier threw 53.12m to pick up a silver, with another Thai, Mingkamon Koomphon taking bronze with a throw of 51.82m.

Thailand's fourth gold in athletics came from veteran Wassana Winatho, who proved that she remains the best in heptathlon in the region. The Thai defended her crown with an aggregate 5,556 points.

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