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Marriage proposals to 'Magician': 5 SEA Games moments

By AFP   May 22, 2022 | 11:31 pm PT
The 31st SEA Games in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi close later Monday after nearly two weeks of records, adulation and marriage proposals.

AFP Sport picks out five memorable moments:

Rock-star treatment

Efren Reyes of the Philippines was given the kind of reception usually more associated with rock stars than aging pool players.

Vietnamese cueist Nguyen Tran Thanh Tu (R) takes a selfie with Efren Reyes after their SEA Games match in Hanoi, May 18, 2022. Photo by Giang Huy

Vietnamese cueist Nguyen Tran Thanh Tu (R) takes a selfie with Efren Reyes after their SEA Games match in Hanoi, May 18, 2022. Photo by Giang Huy

With more than 100 professional titles to his name in a career spanning over four decades, the 67-year-old was mobbed by young fans eager to get a closer look and a selfie whenever their hero showed up.

Despite bowing out early from one event, hundreds of fans still chased the veteran player known as the 'Magician' as he left the building under a heavy security escort. "I love you!" they shouted as he waved regally from a bus.

He left the Games with one bronze.

Faster than Bolt

Thai teenager Puripol Boonson blitzed the field in the men's 100m and 200m to underline his status as a possible global sprint star of the future.

The 16-year-old twice broke the Games 200m record, his best time of 20.37secs sealing his first gold, and the fastest man (or teenager) in Southeast Asia is said to have run a 100m career best of 10.19sec.

Thailands Puripol Boonson has emerged as a sprint star of the future. Photo by AFP

Thailand's Puripol Boonson has emerged as a sprint star of the future. Photo by AFP

"I have never seen someone from Asia move like that and at that age," said retired sprinter U.K. Shyam, Singapore's 100m national record-holder, according to The Straits Times.

"Just think: his time means he's faster than Usain Bolt when Bolt was 16."

Golden timing

A sport not usually associated with romance, a married Vietnamese chess couple each won gold in their categories at almost the same time.

Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and his wife Pham Le Thao Nguyen pose with their gold medals for the mens and womens rapid chess titles at SEA Games 31 in Hanoi, May 17, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Thu

Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and his wife Pham Le Thao Nguyen pose with their gold medals for the men's and women's rapid chess titles at SEA Games 31 in Hanoi, May 17, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Thu

Playing for the men's and women's rapid titles, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and his wife Pham Le Thao Nguyen claimed gold in their chess matches just minutes apart.

"We were always together in training. We supported and shared difficulties together," Truong Son, 32, the youngest Vietnamese to be named a grandmaster, said.

"Now is the time for us to celebrate together."

Stadium proposals

There was something in the air too at Hanoi's My Dinh stadium.

Long jumper Nguyen Tien Trong proposes to his partner Nguyen Thi Phuong Trinh, a sepak takraw competitor in My Dinh Stadium, Hanoi, May 15, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Ngoc

Long jumper Nguyen Tien Trong proposes to his partner Nguyen Thi Phuong Trinh, a sepak takraw competitor in My Dinh Stadium, Hanoi, May 15, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Ngoc

Days after a spectator got down on one knee to ask his partner's hand in marriage at the opening ceremony -- she said yes -- Vietnamese long jumper Nguyen Tien Trong did likewise with partner Nguyen Thi Phuong Trinh.

The sepak takraw competitor also said yes to cap quite a day for Trong -- earlier he won gold for the hosts.

Football frenzy

Thousands of Vietnamese poured into the streets across the country after the Games hosts beat Thailand 1-0 for men's football gold.

Fans greet each other on Ton Duc Thang Street in HCMCs downtown District 1 after Vietnam won the SEA Games mens football gold, May 22, 2022. Photo by Quynh Tran

Fans greet each other on Ton Duc Thang Street in HCMC's downtown District 1 after Vietnam won the SEA Games men's football gold, May 22, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Forward Nham Manh Dung was the hero with an 83rd-minute header that arrowed into the top corner and sent the capacity 40,000 crowd into a frenzy.

Afterwards, fans waving Vietnamese flags and blasting air horns clogged the roads of Hanoi and beyond in an outpouring of national pride.

 
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