Thailand wins first gold medal in Hanoi

Thai pencak silat athletes Sobri Cheni, Abdulkarim Koolee and Abdulrahim Sidek celebrate winning men’s boxing gold at the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi on Wednesday.

Vietnam’s 31st Southeast Asian Games officially kicked off on Thursday, with Thailand aiming to win 112 gold medals.

The kingdom won their first gold medal at pencak silat on Wednesday.

Sobri Cheni, Abdulkarim Koolee and Abdulrahim Sidek stunned Indonesia, the birthplace of martial arts, in the men’s seni (art) regu (team/triad) final.

Thailand scored 9.960 points and Indonesia scored 9.945 points.

The Thai athletes said they had been training together for more than a year.

“We are proud to win a gold medal. We didn’t think we were going to win a gold medal. Before coming here, we only thought we were going to win a medal,” Sobri said.

“It was hard to beat Indonesia, they were our inspiration, but we did it. We are happy and excited to beat Indonesia.”

The opening ceremony of the biennale, originally scheduled for the end of last year, will be held in Hanoi today.

Jiu-Jitsu player Suwijak Kuntong will carry the Thai flag at the event.

The Olympics, which are being held in Hanoi and 11 nearby northern provinces, have been postponed for six months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the Vietnam Games, which ended on May 23, only 11 member states and 40 sports offered 527 gold medals.

Sports include Olympic sports such as track and field, swimming, boxing and football, as well as regional sports such as takraw and pencak silat.

There are also several martial arts, including muay thai, taekwondo, vovinam, kurash, and jiu-jitsu.

Xiangqi, the Chinese chess game that is wildly popular in the host country, will make its first appearance at the SEA Games.

Thailand has been the most successful country in the event since its inception as the Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games in 1959, with a total of 13 championships.

However, Thailand failed to top the medal table at the previous two Olympics.

Team Thailand finished third with 92 gold medals in the 2019 tournament in the Philippines.

The host nations often include their well-performing sports in an attempt to win as many gold medals as possible, leading to criticism that this detracts from the prestige of the competition.

Thailand objected and complained again about the practice.

Thailand will send 189 athletes to Vietnam, with the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) aiming for the team to win 112 gold medals.

‘International sports’

SAT director Gonzak Yodmani said the figure should be enough to give Thailand second place after Vietnam.

To complicate matters, Gongsak added that his agency’s goal is for the Thai to win 72 gold medals in “international sports”.

“We have to be the international sports champions of the 31st Southeast Asian Games,” Gonzack said.

According to the Department of Elite Sports Development of the State Administration of Taxation, the Vietnam Games will feature 22 international sports, including swimming, track and field, boxing, cycling, football, weightlifting, golf, taekwondo, rowing, tennis, shooting and triathlon.

These international sports offer 350 gold medals, while what the SAT calls “general sports” has 177 gold medals up for grabs.

Gonzack said the Southeast Asian Games should be a venue for young athletes to hone their skills in preparation for the Asian Games and the Olympics.

“We should focus on which countries are better in international sports,” he said.

He said the host country often added many “regional sports” to the SEA Games programme, and called on future hosts to focus on organising international sports.

According to SAT bosses, several countries agreed with the idea and vowed to make the Olympics more interesting.

“When we host the Olympics in 2025, I can assure you that we will mainly organize international sporting events, namely the Asian Games and the Olympic Games,” he said.

Thailand aims to win 12 gold medals in track and field, 10 gold medals in shooting and flying saucer, 8 gold medals in rowing, 5 gold medals in boxing, 5 gold medals in takraw, 5 gold medals in Muay Thai, 4 gold medals in football and futsal, 3 1 gold medal in Taekwondo and 3 gold medals in dance sports. other.

Thailand’s biggest hopes include 2020 Olympic kickboxing champion Panipak Wongpattanakit, Tokyo Olympic boxing bronze medalist Sudaporn Seesondee, 2016 Olympic weightlifting champion Sanikun (formerly Sopita) Tanasarn, junior golf star Ratchanon Chantananuwat and 16-year-old sprinter Puripol Boonson.

Chabakao wins

Thailand’s women’s football team beat Singapore 3-0 in Group B on Tuesday night to win back their gold medal.

Goals from Kanyanat Chetthabut, Nutwadee Pram-Nak and Chatchawan Rodthong completed the Singaporeans in the first 21 minutes. Chaba Kaew will meet Myanmar tomorrow.

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