Singapore’s Soh Rui Yong won the men’s marathon at the SEA Games on Sunday, beating his closet rival in a sprint finish to the gruelling event.
Singapore's Guillaume Soh Rui Yong celebrates winning the marathon. Photo credit: SINGSOC/ Action Images via Reuters
Soh and Thailand's Srisung Boonthung broke away from the pack as they reached the end of the 42-kilometre race.
Boonthung was slightly ahead of the home town hero as they entered Kallang Practice Track but stumbled briefly and Soh grabbed his chance.
He quickly overtook the exhausted Thai and dashed clear to win the gold medal in two hours, 34 minutes, 56 seconds. Srisung crossed the line 13 seconds later to get the silver medal while Hoang Nguyen Thanh of Vietnam, came third, a further two minutes behind, to earn the bronze.
"I feel really happy, and winning the gold feels great," Soh said. "The Thai runner stumbled a little at the 300m mark and I ran next to him, gave him a stare and then I was off."
For Soh, who now lives and trains in the United States, it was a triumphant homecoming. The 23-year-old had trained hard in the expectation that the race would be run in high humidity but instead the starters took off in the rain. Still, the race took its toll, with just finishing.
The women's marathon was won by Thailand's Natthaya Thanaronnawat, who reached the finish after 3:03:25. The silver went to Mary Joy Tabal of the Philippines and the bronze to Hoang Thi Thanh.
Thailand's Natthaya Thanaronnawat (L) in action during the marathon. Photo credit: SINGSOC/ Action Images via Reuters
So far, just four medals have been decided in athletics, the two marathons and the two 20km walks. But the full track and field programme starts in earnest at the National Stadium on Tuesday.