Hoang Nguyen Thanh wins the first ever gold medal in the men's marathon at SEA Games for Vietnam. (Photo: tuoitre.vn)
During the event began in early May 19 morning near Hanoi-based My Dinh National Stadium, Thanh faced fierce competition from defending champion Agus Prayogo of Indonesia and Tony Ah-Thit Payne of Thailand.
He reached the finish line first after 2:25:08, faster than the second-placed Prayogo by 30 seconds.
In addition, he set a new personal record as his previous one was 2:26:56.
The 27-year-old runner from the southern province of Binh Phuoc quenched Vietnam’s thirst for medals in the men’s marathon for more than six decades.
Previously, Pham Thi Binh clinched a gold medal in the women’s marathon for Vietnam at SEA Games 28 in 2013.
Speaking to reporters after the competition, Thanh said he was proud but hardly believed that he could win. In the last kilometres, he told himself to do his utmost until the end with cheering from local supporters.
Also on May 19 morning, Vietnam bagged two more golds in the men’s and women’s 20km walk by Vo Xuan Vinh and Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc, respectively.
Nguyen Thanh Ngung clinched a bronze in the men’s 20km walk.
With three golds and one bronze on the last competition day of athletics, the Vietnamese delegation packed a total of 22 gold, 14 silver and seven bronze medals in the sport, surpassing its set target of 15-17 golds at SEA Games 31.
SEA Games 31, themed “For a Stronger South East Asia”, is being held in Hanoi and 11 neighbouring provinces and cities until May 23.
It features 40 sports with 523 events, attracting around 10,000 participants. The biennial event was initially slated for late 2021 but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic./.