Vietnam and the Philippines enjoyed a golden day on Saturday (8) as they won four and three titles, respectively, on the second day of athletics at the 24th South East Asia (SEA) Games in this northern city's ‘His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary Stadium’.
On Sunday (9), the competition moved out on to the roads, with the marathon and race walking titles being decided on day three.
DAY TWO (Sat 8 Dec)
Vietnam's Truong Thanh Hang became the first athlete to win two individual gold medals on the track as her compatriots Bui Thi Nhung and Vu Van Huyen renewed their crowns in the women's High Jump and the Decathlon. Dinh Cuong Nguyen joined the trio by winning the men's 800m.
The Philippines based its success on three defending champions: Arniel Ferrera (Hammer Throw), Rene Herrera (3000m Steeplechase) and Marestella Torres (Long Jump) who continued their dominance from Manila 2005.
Thanh Hang – middle distance double
One day after retaining her 1500m title and bettering her personal by six seconds, 21-year-old Truong Thanh Hang continued to improve and added a second title, the 800m.
Fourth at the distance two years ago, Hang stopped the clock at 2:02.39, over two seconds faster than her previous best and also smashed the Games record of 2:03.65, set by her compatriot Do Thi Bong in 2005.
Vietnam did the 1-2 as Vu Thi Trang finished a distant second in 2:06.71, ahead of Myanmar's Myint Myint Aye (2:08.03).
In the men's 800m race, Dinh Cuong Nguyen completed a perfect day for Vietnam as he ran 1:51.16 to hold off the challenge of Philippines ' Midel Dique (1:52.72) and Malaysia's Mohd Jironi Ridzuan (1:53.30).
1.88m clearance enough for victory
In the infield, 2004 Olympian Bui Thi Nhung had a perfect series until she failed three times over a would-be Games High Jump record of 1.91m. However, her 1.88 was enough to defend her title and prevail over Thais Noeng-Ruthai Chaipech (1.86) and Wanida Boonwan (1.84).
A Vietnamese record holder at 1.94, the 24-year-old had already booked her ticket for her second Olympics in Beijing 2008 after clearing 1.91 at the National championships in Ho Chi Minh, in October.
In the Decathlon, Vu Van Huyen stayed very consistent from the start, winning six of the 10 events and improving his personal bests in the 100m, 110m Hurdles and Shot Put. The 24-year-old added over 150 points to his previous best for a new total of 7457, good enough to keep his regional dominance and erase Thai David Yimsumruay's Games record of 7316 from Jakarta'97.
Three golds for Philippines
The Philippines enjoyed its first athletics victories of these Games.
Arniel Ferrera was the first to start the parade with his last round effort of 60.98m to clinch his third consecutive SEA Games title in the men’s Hammer Throw in a new record form, half a metre better than his previous mark (60.47) from Manila2005.
Rene Herrera joined him in completing a SEA Games hat-trick in the men's 3000m Steeplechase with a comfortable 8:54.21 victory.
The most dramatic win came in the women's Long Jump, an event that Thailand country has won in 11 of the last 12 editions.
Defending champion Marestella Torres took the early lead with an opening 6.18m leap, but encouraged by a supporting crowd, Thai Thitima Muangjan moved to first place in the third round as she landed at 6.25m. However, 26-year Torres' experience prevailed as she responded with a season's best of 6.31m in the last round to defend her 2005 victory.
Malaysia's 2005 Triple Jump champion Ngew Sin Mei (6.08) had to again settle for bronze as in 2005.
Indonesian squad also upbeat
In the distance events, Indonesia 's 20-year Triyaningsih put up a great display in the 5000m as she ran a new national record of 15:54.32 and improved the previous Games record by over 14 seconds. Rini Budiarti was also inside the old mark (16:08.00) to complete a 1-2 for Indonesia, while Phyu War Thet of Myanmar finished third in 16:27.10.
Dwi Ratanawati gave Indonesia her second gold of the day with a 50.05m release in the Discus to beat Thailand's three-time winner and Games record holder Juthaporn Krasaeyan (49.46) and Zhang Guirong (45.73), who gave Singapore its first athletics medal.
Relay solace for hosts
After winning six of the nine finals on the first day, Thailand was reduced to a sole victory on Saturday, thanks to her women in the 4x400m.
Winner of the 400m hurdles on Friday, Wassana Winatho anchored the team to a 3:38.26-minute victory, followed by defending champion Myanmar (3:40.60) and Vietnam (3:43.90), with the youngest athletics medallist so far her, 16-year old Nguyen Thi Thuy.
Malaysia savoured its first gold with a collective effort by her men in the 4x400m. Mohd Zafril Zuslaini, Zaiful Zainal Abiding, Thipan Subramaniam and Amran Raj Krishnan joined efforts for a 3:07.95-minute victory, their first one in this event since 1997.
The Malaysian quartet denied the defending champions of Thailand of a home win who had to settle for silver with 3:08.25, followed by the Philippines (3:08.53).
DAY THREE (Sun 9 Dec)
Indonesia's Yahuza and Thailand's Sunisa Sailomyen ran the best races of their lives to become the new marathon champions as Malaysian maintained their hegemony with Yuan Yu Fang taking her fifth consecutive title on the third day of athletics at the 24th South East Asia (SEA) Games in this northern Thai city (9).
After two busy days at His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary Stadium, the athletic action moved to the streets on Ratchadamnoen, Mittraphap Ratchasima-Pakthongchai Roads (Thao Suranaree Monument) for the Marathon and the 20km walk.
Yahuza made a successful debut over 42.195km as he became the first Indonesian since 1997 to win the longest athletic event of the Sea Games.
The 26-year old crossed the finish line in 2:23:46, over three minutes slower than his compatriot and last Indonesian marathon winner before today, Nabunome Eduardus, who holds the Games record at 2:20:27 since 1997.
Bunting Hem improved the Cambodian mark by over eight minutes (2:26:28) to grab silver, ahead of Philippines ' Eduardo Buenavista, the fastest man in the field.
Buenavista, who took the SEA Games titles in 2001 at 3000 Steeplechase and the 2003 at 10,000m titles tried his luck in the longer distance, but could only managed to finish third in 2:27:21.
In the women's race Sunisa Sailomyen became the first Thai woman to win the marathon crown ever in the SEA Games.
The 31-year old made a tremendous progress from her third place finish at the Kuala Lumpur marathon in March (2:55) to 2:43:33, the second fastest winning time ever in the history of the Games.
Myanmar's Pa Pa finished second in 2:44:11, six years after obtaining the same color medals over 5000m and 10,000m at the 2001 Games in Kuala Lumpur. Jho Ann Banayag of the Philippines (2:44:41) rounded up the podium spots.
Both defending champions -Boonchoo Jandacha of Thailand and Christabel Martes of the Philippines - did not finish.
In the Race Walks, Malaysia extended her dominance as Yuan Yu Fang and Teoh Boon Lim claimed the 20km titles.
For Yu Fang, who clocked 1:41:47, it was her fifth consecutive gold, having won the 10,000m in 1999, but could not break her own record of 1:39:25, set in Hanoi 2003.
In the men's race, Boon Lim regained a title he first won in 2001 and his compatriot and two-time defending champion Mohd Shahrulhaizy Abdul Rahman was disqualified.
"It's nice to win again after such a long absence," said 30-year old Boon Lin, who quit competitive walking after winning the 2001 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games gold and only started on his comeback trail six months ago. He clocked 1:30:37, his best time since 1999.
Another Malaysian, Harbans Narinde Singh, still holds the record with 1:29:13 since 1997.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for IAAF
DAY TWO (8 Dec)
1. Dinh Cuong Nguyen VIE 1:51.16
2. Midel Dique PHI 1:52.72
3. Mohd Jironi Ridzuan MAS 1:53.30
1. Rene Herrera PHI 8:54.21
2. Patikarn Pechsricha THA 9:02.48
3. Van Thang Tran VIE 9:04.74
1. Arniel Ferrera PHI 60.98 GR
2. Tantipong Phetchaiya THA 56.47
3. Yongjaros Kanju THA 53.57
1. Vu Van Huyen VIE 7457 GR
(10.85, 7.13, 11.99, 1.98, 48.93/15.18, 38.10, 4.20, 55.86, 4:43.42)
2. Boonkete Chalon THA 6921
3. Arnold Villarube PHI 6713
1. Malaysia 3:07.95
(Mohd Zafril Zuslaini, Zaiful Zainal Abiding , Thipan Subramaniam, Amran Raj Krishnan)
2. Thailand 3:08.25
3. Philippines 3:08.53
1. Truong Thanh Hang VIE 2:02.39 GR
2. Vu Thi Trang VIE 2:06.71
3. Myint Myint Aye MYA 2:08.03
1. Triyaningsih INA 15:54.32 GR
2. Rini Budiarti INA 16:08.00
3. Phyu War Thet MYA 16:27.10
1. Bui Thi Nung VIE 1.88
2. Noeng-Ruthai Chaipech THA 1.86
3. Wanida Boonwan THA 1.84
1. Marestella Torres PHI 6.31 (+0.4)
2. Thitima Muangjan THA 6.25
3. Ngew Sin Mei MAS 6.08
1. Dwi Ratanawati INA 50.05
2. Juthaporn Krasaeyan THA 49.46
3. Zhang Guirong SIN 45.73
1. Thailand 3:38.26
(Kunya Harnthong, Saowalee Kaewchuy, Treewadee Yongphan, Wassana Winatho)
2. Myanmar 3:40.60
3. Vietnam 3:43.90
DAY THREE (9 Dec)
1. Yahuza INA 2:23:46
2. Bunting Hem CAM 2:26:28
3. Eduardo Buenavista PHI 2:27:21
1. Teoh Boon Lim MAS 1:30:37
2. Kristian lumban Tobung INA 1:32:57
3. Indra INA 1:35:45
1. Sunisa Sailomyen THA 2:43:33
2. Pa Pa MYA 2:44:11
3. Jho Ann Banayag PHI 2:44:41
1. Yuan Yu Fang MAS 1:41:47
2. Darwati INA 1:43:51
3. Lar Nwe Saw MYA 1:46:28