Singapore, Thailand win 100m sprints at SEA Games

Singapore’s Shanti Pereira wins gold in the women’s 100m final. © CNA/Jeremy Long
Singapore’s Shanti Pereira wins gold in the women’s 100m final. © CNA/Jeremy Long

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 12, 2023: The fifth and last day of the athletics competition at the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia produced gold medals for Singapore and Thailand in the showpiece 100-metre finals.

First, Singapore’s Shanti Pereira stormed to a comfortable victory in the women’s 100m, thereby becoming the first Singaporean woman to complete the 100m-200m sprint double in the same SEA Games.

Pereira clocked 11.41 seconds and the result was never in doubt as she steamed clear of Thailand’s Supanich Poolkerd, who took silver in 11.58, and Vietnam’s Thi Nhi Yen Tran, who won the bronze with 11.75.

The SEA Games record, however, remained intact – the 11.28 seconds recorded by the great Lydia De Vega of the Philippines in Jakarta in 1987. The track legend passed away last August but her name lives on in the record books.

Pereira had been in splendid form coming into the SEA Games, training in New Zealand and clocking fast times in competition in Australia. Now she has a SEA Games sprint double to show for her efforts at the start of the summer season.

The men’s final was much closer – and four athletes collected flags after the race to celebrate what they thought would be a podium finish.

But four into three won’t go – and the podium places were filled by Soraoat Dapbang, who took gold in 10.37 seconds, Singapore’s Marc Brian Louis (silver in 10.39) and Malaysia’s Muhammad Haiqal Hanafi, who was awarded bronze in a photo finish with compatriot Khairul Hafiz Jantan after both runners were timed at 10.45.

There was a lengthy delay as officials checked the replays, and the result was clear when the Thai, who had run in late eight, let out a victory yell. He, too, had completed a 100m-200m sprint double.

There was a remarkable finish in the women’s 10,000 metres as Vietnam’s Thi Oanh Nguyen produced an astonishing, sustained sprint over the last 600 metres in energy-sapping conditions to take gold in 35 minutes, 11.53 seconds.

Her compatriot, Thi Hong Le Pham, had been side by side for the entire race but had no answer to Thi Oanh’s acceleration and came home second for silver in 35:21.09. Elvina Naibaho Odekta of Indonesia won the bronze in 35:31.03.

Thailand finished the athletics competition with 16 gold medals, four more than Vietnam.