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Thailand target 112 gold medals

Nguyen Thi Phuong Chung

BANGKOK (VNA) – Thailand aims to win 112 gold medals at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) in Vietnam which officially started yesterday, according to the Bangkok Post.

In an article yesterday, the newspaper reported that the Kingdom got the first gold on Wednesday in pencak silat.

It noted that there are 40 sports offering 527 gold medals at the Vietnam Games which ends on May 23. The sports include Olympic events such as athletics, swimming, boxing and football as well as regional ones like sepak takraw and pencak silat. There are also several martial arts including Muay Thai, kickboxing, vovinam, kurash and jiu-jitsu.

The article said Thailand have been the most successful nation in the tournament, with 13 overall crowns since the event was launched as the Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games in 1959.

However, the Thais have failed to finish top in the medal standings in the previous two Games.

Thailand are sending 189 athletes to Vietnam and the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) aims for the squad to win 112 gold medals.

SAT governor Gongsak Yodmani said the number should be good enough for Thailand to finish second overall behind Vietnam, adding that his agency targets the Thais to win 72 gold medals in “international sports”.

According to the SAT’s Elite Sports Development Department, there are 22 international sports at the Vietnam Games including swimming, athletics, boxing, cycling, football, weightlifting, golf, taekwondo, rowing, tennis, shooting and triathlon.

Gongsak said the SEA Games should be a venue for young athletes to hone their skills to become good enough for the Asian Games and the Olympics.