Thais bag double in hurdles

Thais bag double in hurdles
Thailand's Jamras Rittidet celebrates with compatriot Wallapa Punsoongneun (R) after winning the men's 110m hurdles finals at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore
PHOTO: Reuters

She screamed in delight, jumped for joy and held the Thai flag high above her head when she was told she had won at the National Stadium.

Wallapa Punsoongneun exacted sweet revenge over favourite and defending champion Indonesia's Dedeh Erawati as she took the gold in the women's 100m hurdles event last night.

The Thai had lost to the 35-year-old by 0.18sec in the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.

After missing out on the gold medals in the 400m hurdles events on Wednesday, the Thai contingent were raring to go for the remaining hurdles events to reinstate their dominance.

Wallapa clocked 13.56 to edge out Erawati (13.61) and Vietnam's Tran Thi Yen Hoa (13.64) for the gold medal.

The thrilled 29-year-old said after her race: "I was running with an injury but, in my heart, I wanted to win it 100 per cent.

"At first, I didn't think I was going to win and thought that I'd just do my best but, when I saw the result, I was like, 'Yes!'."

But that was not the end of the celebrations for Thailand.

Next up on the track was their hurdling hero, Jamras Rittidet.

He was bidding for a fourth consecutive men's 110m hurdles gold, after coming through the heats in top position in the afternoon.

In all three of those Games victories, the 26-year-old had set new Games records, rewriting his own marks over and over.

And it was no different yesterday.

The Thai was a picture of pure concentration as he stepped on the blocks to take his mark.

He started quickly - with a reaction time of 0.150 - but the winning formula was the technique with which he cleared each hurdle.

By the last hurdle, he had broken away from his closest rivals, and eventually clocked yet another Games record with a 13.69 that sent the Thai fans wild.

His closest competitor, Malaysian Wan Sofian Rayzam Shah, who won the silver in 2011 and 2013, did a season-best timing of 13.97, while the bronze went to Filipino Patrick Ma Unso who clocked a personal best of 14.12.

An ecstatic Wallapa leapt at her teammate from the sidelines and handed him the Thai flag for his victory lap.

"I was feeling a lot of pressure on me today, before going into the race, since I was the former champion.

"My back was hurting so I didn't expect to win today, but I'm very happy I defended my title," said Jamras.

Wallapa, whose smile grew even wider after her teammate's win, said: "He is like a brother to me, we've known each other for a long time, so when he wins I'm happy too."

jeaniau@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 12, 2015.
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