SEA Games goal reached with disappointment

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Head of Vietnam's SEA Games delegation Lam Quang Thanh said on Sunday that although the country's team reached it's medal tally goal for the games, overall performance was still a bit of a disappointment. 

At the 27th South East Asian (SEA) Games, which ended in Myanmar on Sunday, some Vietnamese competitors did better than expected but others were bitter disappointments, he said.

Speaking to Thanh Nien, Thanh said, "We set the goal of bringing home at least 70 gold medals and finishing among the top three, and the Vietnamese sports delegation reached the goal. The delegation managed to win a total 244 medals, 73 of which were gold, 86 were silver and 86 were bronze medals.

"Yet we actually are not satisfied with the achievements. We could have done much better, but we couldn't do as well as expected because of several reasons."

Thanh said the Vietnamese athletes could actually have won up to 85 gold medals, but some judges were not so fair in some games while some Vietnamese athletes failed to show their best performances in other games.

According to Thanh, wrestlers and shooters displayed undeniably great performances and wushu, taekwondo and vovinam martial artists and boxers and archers did a good job. Chess players were also excellent .

Weightlifters, bodybuilders, judo martial artists and billiards players were just fine because the results more or less reflected the true ability of the Vietnamese contestants, he said.

However, Thanh said that although the 10 gold medals in the track and field events were just as many as expected, the athletes could have done better if they had made more concentrated efforts. Tien Minh, ranked 8th by the Badminton World Federation, had a big chance to win the gold medal but failed to make it because he was swept aside by Indonesian rival Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka in the semifinals.

Martial artists in the pencak silat, karatedo and muay Thai events generally failed to meet analysts' expectations. Canoeing and rowing competitors were not as good as expected, Thanh said.

Thanh said the most disappointing results were in the ball events. Football, volleyball and sepak takraw players all did worse than expected.

When asked what Vietnamese performances gave him the best  impressions, Thanh said the most impressive were certainly the performances by the 17-year-old female swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien with 3 gold medals, sprinter Vu Thi Huong with two gold medals in the women's 100m and 200m races and runner Nguyen Van Lai with two gold medals in the men's 5,000m and 10,000m.

Chess player Truong Son took two gold medals and lifter Thach Kim Tuan won the gold and set the new SEA Games record of 285kg in the men's 56kg event. Some other young contestants were also great and would be given chances to make more improvements for future events including the Asian Games [Asiad] 2019, to be hosted by Vietnam, Thanh said.

Asked what else he would like to say about the games, Thanh said SEA Games events often included too many local games in an effort to win as many medals as possible for host countries.

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