Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dedeh waits 15 years to snatch Games gold

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Nakhon Ratchasima

It took Dedeh Erawati 15 years to finally win her first Southeast Asian Games gold medal, but she finally succeeded in the women's 100 meter hurdles here Monday.

The 28-year-old mother of one has competed in seven SEA Games but finally found success here after crossing the finish line first, in 13.51 seconds. She toppled defending champion Moh Siew Wei of Malaysia, with 13.61, and Wallapa Pansoongnenun of Thailand, with 13.85.

"I was just focusing on my run. Although I wasn't targeted to win the gold medal I told myself that I must do my best to win," the 2005 silver medalist said after the medal presentation ceremony.

"Previously I could only take bronze or silver medals but now I've got my gold," said Dedeh, who first ran in the Games in 1992, when she was 13.

During the Malaysian Track and Field Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Dedeh beat Moh by clocking 13.80.

"I'm so grateful to coach Ludmila Kondratieva, who has made lots of improvements during my training," said the state-owned bank employee.

The victory also earned her a Rp 200 million (about US$21,600) cash prize from the government. Dedeh plans to use the money "to go umroh (the minor haj pilgrimage) and buy a house."

In the women's hammer throw, Indonesia's Rose Herlinda Inggriana and Yurita Ariany Arsyad won the silver and bronze after throwing 50.79 and Yurita 49.99 meters, respectively. The gold went to Malaysian Siti Shahida Abdullah with 52.93m.

Host Thailand was triumphant in eight of 13 events featured on Monday, including the men's and women's 4x100m relay.

Quartet Wachara Sondee, Siriroj Darasuriyong, Sompote Suwannarangsri and Sittichai Suwonprateep won the men's 4x100m relay gold by clocking 38.95, leaving Indonesia's Taufik Rahmadi, Suryo Agung Wibowo, Asrul Akbar and John Herman Muray in the second place with 39.79 and Malaysia's Arif Naim Jeffry, Hadi Mohd Noor Imran, Mhd Latif Nyat and Mohd Zabidi Ghazali in third with 39.90.

"It was our best effort. We have to admit that the Thais are better than us," John said.

The silver still brought a cheer in the national camp as the quartet's time broke the national record of 41.55.

Indonesian physical trainer Robert John Ballard said the result was good and the team has a chance to do better.

"It was right they finished second and also the national record was fantastic. It's a good result but we can still do better. So I'm looking forward to next competition and looking forward to the next representation," Ballard told The Jakarta Post.

The Australian acknowledged that the team should improve their technique to beat the Thai.

Speaking about the host team, Ballard said: "That was a very good time, 38.95 is getting in to a very good class, but I'm pretty sure that Indonesia will be there next year. We will be running 38 point something for sure".

He was upbeat that the squad could add more gold.

"I think we certainly will get six gold. We will add one more from the women's 10,000m," he said.

"There will be a chance to pick up one more from the men's 200m. So it will be lovely to get seven and it's going to be the best result since 1995," said Ballard.

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