Yee Chun Leong & Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
VIETNAM successfully defended their title at the 41st SEA Age Group Swimming Championships after winning a staggering 51 gold, 27 silver and 13 bronze medals.
The result is a strong improvement from the previous edition where they amassed 39 gold, 39 silver and 27 bronze medals in Thailand last year.
Indonesia were second best with 19 gold, 24 silver and 14 bronze while Thailand round off the top-three with their haul of 16 gold, 21 silver and 29 bronze.
Singapore followed in fourth with eight gold, 21 silver and 24 bronze just ahead of Malaysia, who are also on eight gold but with five silver and 17 bronze.
The Philippines were the other country to end the three-day competition on the podium with four gold, nine silver and eight bronze.
Vietnam also claimed four of the six best swimmer awards during the gala dinner last night at the Parkview Hotel in Jerudong.
Nguyen Huu Kim Son was the biggest winner for Vietnam with his tally of nine gold and two silver individual medals in boys’ Group 2 (14-15 years old). He also bagged five gold medals from the team events.
The 15-year-old, who won gold with a record time of 4:22.12 in the 400m Inter Medley event at the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, was delighted with the outing.
"I am very exhausted but I am very very happy with my performance in this tournament," said Kim Son in an interview with BruSports News yesterday.
"I have 18 events lined up for this championships, 13 singles and 5 relay events, so it has been a very busy day so far," he added.
The Vietnamese also set new championship records in seven individual events at the three-day tournament, which also serves as a qualifier for the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
"We worked very hard for this and my target is to go to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan," continued Kim Son.
"I participated in many events at this tournament that I didn’t even have time to collect my medals and I had to ask my teammate to do it for me.
"It was good tournament as I managed to break some records too so I am very happy," concluded Kim Son, who looks up to American Swimmer Chase Kalisz, South Korean Park Tae-Hwan and Australian Mack Horton for inspiration.
Nguyen Huy Hoang (featured pic) was also impressive in boys’ Group 1 (16-18 years old) with his haul of six gold medals.
Over in the girls’ Group 1, Vu Thi Phuong Anh placed at the top with five gold and two silver medals.
Do Ngoc Que Tran bagged the award in girls’ Group 3 (13 years old & under) after clinching four gold and two silver medals.
Indonesia’s Azzahra Permatahani was the best in girls’ Group 2 after swimming her way to seven gold and one silver medals which include two new records.
Last but not least, Darren Lew of Malaysia won the award for the boys’ Group 3 with four gold and one bronze medals.
Present as the guest of honour to hand out the prizes was the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Dato Paduka Awang Hj Mohd Juanda Hj A. Rashid.
The Philippines will be the hosts for the 42nd edition slated for next year.