Muhammad Hakimi Ismail in the triple jump at the Southeast Asian Games (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Clark, Philippines

Defending champions dominate at Southeast Asian Games


Several champions from 2017 added to their gold medal tally during the final two days of athletics at the Southeast Asian Games in Clark, the Philippines.

By the time the competition concluded on Tuesday (10), at least 22 national records had been set and seven games records were broken. 15 of the gold medal winners across the five days of action managed to retain their titles from two years prior.

Malaysia’s defending champion Muhammad Hakimi Ismail sealed his third consecutive triple jump title by leaping 16.68m in the third round. Mark Harry Diones, the 2017 Asian silver medallist, jumped 16.42m, his best leap for two years, to take the silver medal for the host nation. Indonesia’s long jump champion Sapwaturrahman took bronze with 16.21m.

In the women’s discus, Thailand’s Subenrat Insaeng opened with 53.63m, which would have been enough for the gold, but the 25-year-old landed a Games record of 60.33m with her fifth attempt to win by more than 13 metres. It was her fifth SEA Games title, having won her first at the age of 17.

Malaysia’s Muhammad Irfan Shamsuddin, nursing a minor hand injury, clinched his fourth consecutive discus title and needed only one valid throw, 57.29m.

Nguyen Thi Huyen and Quach Thi Lan achieved a Vietnamese 1-2 finish in the women’s 400m hurdles, clocking 56.90 and 57.39 respectively. They then teamed up with Nguyen Thi Oanh and Hoang Thi Ngoc to win the women’s 4x400m in 3:34.64. It was Thi Huyen’s third gold of the championships as she had won the 400m a few days prior.

Vietnam also won the men’s 4x400m, finishing in 3:08.07.

More gold for Van Thai and Thi Oanh

Having won the 1500m earlier in the championships, Vietnam’s Duong Van Thai completed a middle-distance double by winning the men’s 800m in 1:49.91, repeating his achievement from 2017.

Compatriot Nguyen Thi Oanh pocketed her third gold medal of the championships, winning the women’s 3000m steeplechase in a Games record of 10:00.02, having won the 5000m (16:45.98) during the morning session. She had previously won the 1500m (4:17.31).

After his victory in the men’s 10,000m, Thailand’s Kieran Tuntivate completed a distance double by winning the men’s 5000m in 14:31.15, pushed all the way by Vietnam’s three-time champion Nguyen Van Lai (14:32.42).

The men’s 110m hurdles provided the closest contest of the championships as the top two crossed the line together in 13.97. Clinton Bautista of the Philippines was eventually given the verdict over defending champion Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian of Malaysia.

Elsewhere, Eric Cray of the Philippines clinched his fourth consecutive gold in the men’s 400m hurdles, clocking 50.21. Indonesia’s Hendro retained his gold medal in the men’s 20km race walk in 1:31:20, with Vietnam’s Vo Xuan Vinh just behind in 1:31:38. Thailand stormed to gold medals in the men’s (39.27) and women’s 4x100m (44.38).

Vietnam, hosts of the next Southeast Asian Games in 2021, topped the athletics medals table with 16 gold, 13 silver and nine bronze. Thailand (12 gold) and the Philippines (11 gold) were second and third on the table.

Jad Adrian Washif for World Athletics