Thailand and Malaysia join gold rush at SEA Games on eve of opening ceremony
04 June, 2015
Thailand's Suthasini Sawettabut celebrates her Gold medal win in Table Tennis Women's Singles Finals against Malaysia. Photo: SINGSOC/ Action Images via Reuters
Thailand and Malaysia captured their first gold medals at the 28th SEA Games on Thursday as the excitement continued to build in Singapore on the eve of the opening ceremony.
Thailand picked up two gold medals - one in table tennis and another in fencing - while Malaysia collected its first gold in synchronised swimming.
The host-nation won two more golds to remain at the top of the medal standings while Vietnam also won two more to remain in second spot after the handful of medals that were decided before Friday's official opening.
Katrina Abdul Hadi and Lee Yhing Huey teamed up to win gold for Malaysia in the synchronised duet event at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, and received a congratulatory tweet from the Malaysian Prime Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Singapore's Stephanie Chen Mei Qi and Crystal Yap Yu Hui in action. Photo: SINGSOC/Action Images via Reuters
Singapore won the silver and Indonesia the bronze. Later, Singapore turned the tables on Malaysia in the team combination event to win the gold a day after the republic won its first ever synchronised swimming title.
Nontapat Panchan provided Thailand with its first gold in Singapore when he won the men's individual foil title at the OCBC Arena Hall. It was the third time the master swordsman had won the SEA Games title after his previous victories in 2005 and 2011.
Thailand's second gold came in table tennis when Suthasini Sawettabut scored a surprise victory at Singapore's Indoor Stadium.
She upset Singapore's world number four and multi-Olympic medallist Feng Tianwei in the group stage then defeated Malaysia's Ng Sock Khim in 4-3 in a thrilling best of seven game final.
Singapore's surprise loss in the women; s event, which it had won for the last 10 SEA Games, ended its chances of sweeping all seven gold medals in table tennis.
But Gao Ning did make up for some of the disappointment when he won the men's singles titles for the four time, beating Richard Gonzales of the Philippines in four games. Gao also won gold in the men's doubles on Tuesday.
Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Le Dung celebrates winning the Fencing Women's Individual Sabre. Photo: SINGSOC/Action Images via Reuters
Vietnam won two more golds in fencing. Nguyen Thi Le Dung Nguyen won the women's individual sabre while her team mate Tran Thi Len successfully defend the women's individual epee title she won in Indonesia in 2011 when fencing was last held at the SEA Games.
Singapore and Malaysia finished the round-robin phase of the netball competition undefeated with the hosts beating the Philippines 84-12 and Malaysia downing Brunei 82-24.
Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Thailand all advanced to Saturday's semi-finals.
For photo highlights from today, check out our daily photo gallery here.