SEA Games 31: Viet Nam’s athletics team fulfill target of 15 golds

The Vietnam athletics team has fulfilled its target of at least 15 gold medals set for SEA Games 31 with 4 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze medals, which surpassed the set target of a Gold Medal.

The 15th gold medal of the SEA Games 31 was secured by Nguyen Linh Na in heptathlon on May 17. With her excellent performance in heptathlon, Nguyen Linh Na of Viet Nam made an impressive comeback to triumph in the event.

On the previous day, Norliyana Kamarruddin of Malaysia took the lead in the women’s heptathlon with 3,237 points and became a strong contender for the gold. Nguyen Linh Na ranked second with 3,231 points. Na still followed Kamarruddin in long jump on May 17, leading to an 18-point gap with 3,960 points for the former and 3,978 points for the latter.

Nguyen Linh Na grants an interview to the media after winning the gold medal in the women's heptathlon on May 17. (Photo: VNA)
Nguyen Linh Na grants an interview to the media after winning the gold medal in the women's heptathlon on May 17. (Photo: VNA)

However, thanks to her outstanding performance in the last two events, the Vietnamese athlete recorded 41.85 metres in javelin and 2 minutes and 25.35 seconds in the 800-metre run to secure 5,415 points in total, topping the women’s heptathlon.

With not-as-good-as-expected performance in these two events, Norliyana Kamarruddin of Malaysia dropped to the third place with 5,262 points and earned a bronze medal. Sarah Dequiman Noveno of the Philippines moved up to the second position with 5,381 points and won a silver.

Beforehand, at the final day of competition, with the home field advantage and thorough preparation of expertise in the content of the double bar, Dinh Phuong Thanh showed bravery and little pressure when competing with the world champion - Carlos Yulo. The Hanoi boy showed an excellent performance, completely conquering the referee team to reach the top position with 15,133 points - a rare high score in the gymnastics content.

Right after that, in barbell, Dinh Phuong Thanh was also surprised when he reached the same score of 13,867. Thereby, he jointly won the Gold Medal with the Filipino opponent. "This is an unexpected success. Before the competition, I thought that I would not be able to overcome the opponent. However, thanks to the encouragement of the teachers and the enthusiastic cheers of the fans, I am able to make a breakthrough in this competition", Phuong Thanh shared after receiving the award.

Following what has been identified from the first day of competition, coach Truong Minh Sang was completely grounded when he believed in the medal competitiveness of his students.

Dinh Phuong Thanh won the Gold Medal in the double bar.
Dinh Phuong Thanh won the Gold Medal in the double bar.

"The coaching staff was also a bit worried but from their experience, they believe that the athletes could pass today's competition and win the Gold Medal. It was very difficult because Filipino athlete Carlos Yulo had reached world-class level. However, the training board of the Vietnamese gymnastics team had a specific preparation and plan before entering each competition session. Thanks to that, the athletes were able to compete for the Gold Medal," coach Truong Minh Sang said.

Viet Nam's gymnastics aimed for 3 Gold Medals at the 31st SEA Games. This is not a simple target even though the team have carefully calculated the arrangement of personnel and trained the inherited young talent. However, over time, that plan always needs to change based on the progress of our athletes, objective factors such as international competitions and depend on the performance of the athletes of opponent countries.

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(Source: NDO, VNA)