THE Philippines won a marathon double at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games yesterday to boost their medal haul but Thailand reached a half-century of gold and remained well clear of the chasing pack.
Eduardo Buenavista took the men's race in 2:21:10, finishing 46 seconds ahead of 2007 winner, Indonesia's Yahuza, with Cambodia's Hem Bunting taking the bronze.
In the women's race, Jho-An Banayag took gold in 2:46:34, edging out defending champion Sunisa Sailomyen of Thailand by 13 seconds with Myanmar's Ni Lar San in third place.
Malaysia's Teoh Boon Lim won the men's 20-kilometre walk in 1:31:28 and Myanmar's Kay Khing Myo Tun took the women's in 1:45:06.
On a quiet day in track and field, Malaysia's Tan Song Hwa won the women's hammer throw with a SEA Games record of 56.41 metres and Thailand's Supanara Sukhasvasti Na Ayudhaya took gold in the men's long jump.
Thailand, who topped the medals table in 2007, are on 51 gold overall, including eight in athletics and eight in shooting, six clear of Vietnam in second place, with Singapore on 31.
Elsewhere yesterday table tennis powerhouse Singapore took both singles gold medals in two all-Singapore finals with Gao Ning winning the men's singles and Feng Tianwei the women's event.
They were only denied a clean sweep of all seven gold by Vietnam, who had previously won the men's doubles.
Meanwhile, Malaysia's football coach K Rajagobal said his players had earned their place in the final of the Under-23 competition after overcoming the host nation 3-1 in a fanatically partisan stadium on Monday.
"The players did a good job and we deserved to be in the final," he said, according to Malaysian daily the New Straits Times.
"In the second half, I knew Laos would come at us but we began to lose a bit of organisation.
"The game was drifting away from us when they equalised but the players showed character, believed in themselves and got the second goal before the third goal followed."
Malaysia will meet Vietnam in the final, who defeated Singapore 4-1.
SEA Games organising committee chairman Somsavat Lengsavad said the Games would boost sport in Laos, who, with 22 gold so far, are closing in on their pre-Games target of 25.
"SEA Games fever has shown that people want to cheer for and support their athletes in popular sports so this leads me to believe Laos sport will improve," he said, according to the Vientiane Times.
He added that the Games were an important milestone for the country.
"Our athletes have done well, winning many gold, silver and bronze medals even though the Games are still not over.
"Laos has never had such medal success. But this time we are the hosts so our athletes trained hard for this victory," he added.
Athletes from 11 nations are competing at the 10-day SEA Games, which are held every two years.
Courtesy from Brunei Times