HOST nation Laos crashed out of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games football competition to Malaysia yesterday as Singapore confirmed their status as kings of the swimming pool.
Elsewhere in capital Vientiane, 2007 table-toppers Thailand won four gold in track and field to take their overall haul to 42, 10 clear of Vietnam with Singapore on 28.
Amid fanatical support at the 20,000-seat stadium on the outskirts of Vientiane, Laos' Under-23 footballers pulled level at 1-1 with 18 minutes to go but Malaysia scored twice more to seal a place in the final.
On Thursday they will face Vietnam, who overcame Singapore 4-1 in the other semi-final.
On the last evening of swimming, four more SEA Games records tumbled, the latest in a raft of marks broken, with Singapore adding two more gold to finish ahead of Malaysia, for whom Daniel Bego notched five wins on his own.
Many of the swimmers were wearing the polyurethane suits that will be banned by swimming's world governing body Fina from Jan 1.
Peter Churchill, part of Singapore's coaching team, put his country's success down to a strong culture of swimming, a diverse coaching team involving multinational talent and the embracing of technology.
"To be part of this is sensational. We've had a tough year and this finishes it off on a high note," said Churchill, who highlighted the four individual gold medals won by Tao Li and the 50 metres freestyle win by 16-year-old Lim Xiang Qi.
An exhausted Bego said: "I didn't come here with any expectations. I didn't have the best preparations because I was still studying.
"Now I just want to get some rest. I'll go home and have a good sleep," added the 20-year-old swimmer.
Meanwhile, on the track Thailand took gold in the men's and women's 4x400 metres relays as well as the women's high jump and triple jump while Vietnamese athletes won the men's and women's 800m races and the decathlon.
Vietnam's Nguyen Dinh Cuong, who successfully defended his 800m crown, said: "This year has been difficult because I have had an injury and the Malaysian athletes are strong so I'm happy to win."
Indonesia's defending champion in the women's 5,000m was disappointed to miss out on breaking her own SEA Games record despite her win.
"I'm happy but not satisfied because I didn't break the record but I'm confident for the 10,000 metres," Triyaningsih said.
Thailand's Thitima Muangjan broke her own Games record in the women's triple jump, setting a new mark of 14.08 metres, and compatriot Noeng-Ruthai Chaipech broke the record in the women's high jump with a jump of 1.94 metres.
The 25th edition of the SEA Games closes on Dec18.
Courtesy from Brunei Times