Vietnamese women bathed in gold after stellar SEA Games performance

By Vi Vu   August 30, 2017 | 05:10 pm GMT+7

The women outshone the men this year to help the country finish third at the region's biggest sporting event.

Vietnamese athletes bid farewell to the region’s biggest sporting event on Wednesday after claiming third place overall at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games with 168 medals.

The team won 58 gold, 50 silver and 60 bronze medals, finishing behind host nation Malaysia and major rival Thailand.

Vietnamese sports officials said the female athletes had a lot to do with this year's success, winning two thirds of the country's gold medals.

Tran Duc Phan, head of the Vietnamese delegation, told the press on Wednesday that “SEA Games 29 has been a success for female Vietnamese athletes.”

“Little Mermaid” Nguyen Thi Anh Vien bagged seven of the 10 gold medals won by Vietnam in the pool to become the country’s most decorated athlete at the event.

Vietnam’s biggest success was in track and field, and the 17 gold medals its athletes claimed broke Thailand's long-held dominance.

20-year-old debutant Le Tu Chinh won three gold medals and has been hailed by various Malaysia media outlets as the new "speed queen”.

She completed the sprint double over 100 meters in less than 12'' and 200 meters in 23.32.

She was also at the forefront of the 4x100m relay squad who set a new Games record of 4388, beating the 44.00 mark set by Thailand in 2013.

Wushu artist Duong Thuy Vi and cyclist Nguyen Thi That won two gold medals each, while the women's football team also scored gold, the fifth time they have been crowned champions at the event.

However, the men's footballers, shooters, archers and taekwondo artists fell short of expectations.

The SEA Games is held every two years and is followed closely by sports lovers across the region. 

This year, Vietnam sent 476 athletes to compete in 32 of the 38 sports at the Games, which were held in Kuala Lumpur between August 19-30 and gathered around 6,000 athletes from 11 Southeast Asian states.

Despite its long history and regional scale, the event fails to capture international attention due to certain arrangements deemed “unprofessional”.

One of those is that the host country can decide which sports will be competed, and it doesn't end there.

This year, Malaysia handpicked the group its men's football team was placed in, while the other countries were put into the hat for a more conventional draw.

For years, there have also been reports of dissatisfaction about host countries applying random rules to give their athletes an edge.

The Philippines will host the next Games in 2019.

 
 
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