Vietnam's former army chef breaks 22-year SEA Games running record

Thanh Nien News

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Nguyen Van Lai celebrates his gold medal in men's 5000m at the 28th Southeast Asian Games. Nguyen Van Lai celebrates his gold medal in men's 5000m at the 28th Southeast Asian Games.


Nguyen Van Lai won a gold medal in men’s 5000m running competition on Tuesday, breaking a Southeast Asian (SEA) Games record 22 years ago.
The 28-year-old athlete from Thanh Hoa Province finished with 14m4s14, by 4 seconds faster than a record by Malaysia’s Ramachandran set at the 1993 SEA Games.
Indonesia’s Agus Prayogo, who led Lai in the beginning rounds, came second more than 10 seconds behind.
“I want to present the gold medal to my five-month son,” he said.
Lai was actually defending his title at the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar, when he also bagged a gold medal in men’s 1000m.
He joined the military in 2005 and worked as a chef after learning a cooking course. He was sent to the military sport center after having good performance at a sport event in 2007.

Rowing: gold medal for 16-year-old girl’s first SEA Games
Also on Tuesday, Truong Thi Phuong made a surprising win to bag a gold medal in women’s C1-200m canoeing.
The gold medal was a surprise for Vietnam’s rowing team, who had not hope for any gold ahead tough competitors.

Tran Thi Phuong, 16, won a gold medal in canoeing at her first SEA Games.
“I began practicing in 2012. Before SEA Games, my coaches who did not set any target for me, told me to do my best,” said the young rower from Vinh Phuc Province.
“I want to dedicate my gold medal to my parents and trainers for supporting me during training and in the competition,” Phuong, who comes from a farming family, said in happy tears.
More golds in billiards, gymnastics, swimming
In billiards, Tran Phi Hung won a gold medal in men’s 1 cushion carom after defeating his countryman Ma Minh Cam 100/92.
In the final match, Hung was often led by Cam, sometimes by more than 30 points.
However, he scored 41 consecutive points to lead 99/90.
Cam managed to score two points before Hung finished the match.
“In 1 cushion carom, it is not hopeless for being led 60-70 points. I played well today and would have won him again if there had been another match,” he said about the first gold medal for Vietnam’s billiards & snooker team at this event.
Also on Tuesday, the fourth day of the Games, Phan Thi Ha Thanh won a gold medal in women’s vault while Dang Nam won a gold medal in men’s rings.
Earlier on Monday, Thanh had won a gold medal in women’s individual all-round competition.

Nguyen Thi Anh Vien added another two gold medals to her prize haul Tuesday, winning the 200m freestyle and 200m butterfly in, yet again, record-breaking timings.

Vien’s time of 1:59.27 in the 200m freestyle, smashing the record (2:11.12) established by Quah Ting Wen of Singapore in SEA Games 2009 in Laos.

The Vietnamese “iron girl” also broke another SEA Games record in the women's 200m butterfly swimming event with 2:11.12. compared with the time of 2:13.59 held by Singaporean swimmer Tao Li.  

With the new records, Vien has made her collection of six gold medals, one silver and one bronze medal at this event.
By the end of Tuesday, Vietnam ranked 3rd on the medals table with 33 golds, 15 silvers and 37 bronzes, led by host Singapore and Thailand.

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