Vietnamese martial artists Nguyen Trong Cuong and Luong Minh Dat snatched two gold medals in the men’s Taekwondo event at the ongoing SEA Games in Laos yesterday.
Three in a row: Nguyen Trong Cuong poses with his gold medal and a SEA Games mascot after winning the men’s 80kg taekwondo final yesterday in Vientiane. It is his third consecutive SEA Games title. (Photo: VNN)
Cuong has now won gold at three consecutive SEA Games, adding to his victories in Thailand in 2007 and the Philippines in 2005.
In the final of the men’s welter weight (74-80kg), Dat defeated Filipino Avenido Marlon 6-3 to secure Viet Nam’s second gold of the day.
On a high following his teammate’s success, Dat was more aggressive than his opponent in the first round which he took 1-0.
In the second round, with spectacular and accurate attacks, he gained three more points to increase his lead to 4-1.
Dat, who competes in SEA Games for the first time, grew more and more confident in the final round, eventually winning 6-3.
Both Cuong and Dat immediately received VND5 million (US$270) each for their gold at the Games from Lien Viet bank. They also received congratulations from Viet Nam’s minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Hoang Tuan Anh.
Vietnamese martial artists also brought home two silver medals and one bronze in kumite (combat) yesterday thanks to the efforts of Nguyen Thi Duong, Ha Thi Nguyen, and Dinh Quang Tung.
Duong lost to Rivero of the Phillipines in the final of the women’s welter weight (62-67kg), while Nguyen was defeated by Malaysia’s Chan Chew Che in the final of the women’s middle weight (67-73kg).
Tung only managed a bronze after losing to Alexander Briones of the Philippines in the semi-finals.
Following the successes of Vietnamese Taekwondo athletes, karate athletes also brought home two gold medals yesterday.
There was a gold for world champion Nguyen Hoang Ngan in the women’s individual kata (performance) event. Ngan went on to combine with her teammates Do Thi Thu Ha and Nguyen Thi Hang to beat Malaysia 5-0 in the women’s team kata to win gold.
Tuan fails to win gold
Vietnamese fans were disappointed when Olympic silver medallist Hoang Anh Tuan failed to win gold in the men’s 56kg category yesterday.
The 24-year-old athlete was philosophical about his loss and put it down to errors of skill and bad tactics. The gold went to Indonesia’s Jadi Setiadi.
“I’m broken-hearted. This is my third consecutive failure at the SEA Games. I don’t know what to say except sorry to the people who put their hopes on me,” said Tuan, who sometimes trained without a coach.
“Tuan is a high-level athlete. He can completely adjust his weight level without the need to refer to a coach. In fact, domestic coaches probably wouldn’t have made a difference,” coach Pham Danh Ton conceded.
Tuan was expected to cruise to victory in this event, which he missed out on in the previous Games in Thailand two years ago. The gold was won by Eko Irawan Yuli of Indonesia who also won a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics.
Tuan’s hopes were further raised when his key rival Eko competed in the 62kg division after his success in the recent World Weightlifting Championship. This left Tuan with an apparently easy task.
In the training sessions in Laos, Tuan, who won two gold medals in the men’s 56kg category at the Asian Weightlifting Championships, held in Kanazawa, Japan last April, often lifted a combined total of 280kg.
However, in yesterday’s competition, Tuan lifted 125kg at the second attempt of the ’snatch’ discipline, while his main rival, Jadi of Indonesia, bettered him by 1kg.
Turning to the clean and jerk category which is Tuan’s strong point, Tuan’s opening weight was 152kg (heavier than Jadi by 7kg) but he failed at all three attempts. Jadi eventually succeeded in lifting 148kg.
Tuan was only the second Vietnamese athlete to bring home a silver medal from the Olympic Games. The first was won by women’s Taekwondo athlete Tran Hieu Ngan at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Tuan’s loss is considered a heavy blow to the Viet Nam sporting delegation in Laos.
The unexpected silver medal, which Ngo Thi Nga won in the women’s 48kg yesterday, is scant consolation for Vietnamese fans.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News