Thursday, December 6, 2007

SEA GAMES: Malaysia ready to roar

SAWADEEKHAP. Greetings from the city of Korat, the biggest city in Thailand after Bangkok.
The 24th Sea Games start officially today with a two-hour opening ceremony later tonight.

"Can", the Games mascot, is all over the city and the Games are aptly themed "Spirit, Friendship and Celebrations."

This city of 2.5 million people has welcomed another 12,000 visitors for the 10 days or so, with Malaysia alone providing more than 1,000 athletes, officials and media personnel.

Malaysia's 734 athletes, the largest contingent ever outside of Malaysia for the Sea Games and the biggest contingent in Korat after Thailand, will compete in 39 of the 43 sports.

The National Sports Council has targeted 64 of the 475 gold medals at stake. The total haul in Manila two years ago was 61.

Malaysia suffered some early blows with shooting only managing two of the targeted four gold medals while athletics will not have Noraseela Khalid to deliver in the women's 400m hurdles.

Diver Bryan Nickson Lomas is doubtful after suffering a recurrence of a groin injury and for the critics, this is a sign that Malaysia will fail to meet their target.

Nevertheless, NSC director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong is unperturbed.

"We will maintain our gold medal target. In fact, we are sure medals will be won in unexpected events."

Zolkples is spot on for the target set is actually rather modest considering the size of the contingent.

Many believe that Malaysia can actually win more than 70 gold medals and this is the belief the athletes must take into competition with them.

The highest number of gold should come from athletics, aquatics and, surprisingly, cycling.

Athletics and aquatics have maintained their respective 10-gold targets despite injuries to Noraseela and Bryan. Cycling has seen a tremendous transformation of late and the Malaysian National Cycling Federation has targeted eight gold medals but more can be expected.

In fact, much more is expected from the contingent and the early blows should be taken as a challenge and the athletes should motivate themselves to produce Malaysia's best ever performance at the Sea Games outside the country.


Men's Individual: 1 Kittipong Tawinun (Tha) 21.45; 2 Phairach Thotkhamchai (Tha) 21.10; 3 Nguyen Thien Phuong (Vie) 19.80

Women's Individual: 1 Roypim Ngampeerapong (Thai) 20.60; 2 Nguyen Phuong Thanh (Vie) 19.65; 3 Suwadee Phrutichai (Thai) 19.30... 5 Kong Pei Ling 15.45; 6 Joanne Tan Poh Leng 14.75

Mixed Pairs: 1 Thailand Vietnam 20.20 (join-winners); 3 Indonesia 19.30.

Trios: 1 Thailand 20.60; 2 Vietnam 20.15; 3 Indonesia 19.80.


Women's Group A: Philippines 0 Vietnam 6.


Men's Downhill: 1 Sitichai Ketaewmanee (Tha) 4:02.275s; 2 Joey Barba (Phi) 4:03.664; 3 Ariyo sejati Popo (Ina) 4:08.871.

Women's Downhill: 1 Sattayanun Abdulkare (Tha) 4:42.637s; 2 Ausanee Pradupyard (Thai) 4:43.574; 3 Phan Thi Thuy Trang 6:45.344.


Men's Semi-finals: Singapore 3 Indonesia 1; Thailand 3 Vietnam 1.

Final: Singapore 3 Thailand 0.

Women's Semi-finals: Singapore 3 Vietnam 0; Malaysia 2 Thailand 3 (Nanthana Komwong bt Chiu Soo Jiin 11-5,11-7, 11-7; Beh Lee Wei bt Anisara Muangsuk 11-7, 11-13, 12-14, 11-8, 11-5; Ng Sock Khim bt Suttilux Rattanapr. 14-12, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 12-10; Nanthana Komwong bt Beh Lee Wei 9-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-9; Anisara Muangsuk bt Chiu Soo Jiin 11-7, 11-5, 11-5).

Final: Singapore 3 Thailand 0.


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