Monday, December 10, 2007
Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Nakhon Ratchasima
Indonesia's Yahuza only had one thing on his mind as he was running the 42.1-kilometer distance during the Southeast Asian Games men's marathon event here on Sunday: a victory.
He crossed the line to finish first in two hours, 23 minutes and 46 seconds, far ahead of silver medalist Bunting Hem of Cambodia on 2:26:28 and Eduardo Buenavista of the Philippines on 2:27:21.
His time, however, was still below the Games record of 2:20:27 crafted by Indonesian Eduardus Nabunome at the 1997 Games in Jakarta.
"I was hoping to win the gold so my entire mind was focused on how to win," said the father of one. "We adopt a strategy to keep our pace and stick to two big groups. I was ordered to stick to the front group which was led by the Thai runners while Jauhari Johan stuck to the other group behind."
"I kept up my strength by always running behind the group but still attached to them. But by the 23rd km, I found myself running alone in the street," he added.
The newly married Yahuza dedicated his gold medal to his wife at home in Bangka, Bangka Belitung province.
His victory did not only earn him a gold medal but also Rp 200 million (about US$21,600) as a cash bonus from the government.
Asked what he would do with his bonus, Yahuza replied that he would donate some of it to three orphanages in his hometown.
Meanwhile in the women's marathon, Thailand's Sunisa Sailomyen triumphed after clocking 2:43:33 followed by Pa Pa of Myanmar on 2:44:11 and Jho Ann Banayag of the Philippines on 2:44:41.
The Games record holder, Ruwiyati, of Indonesia -- whose best time is 2:34:29, set 12 years ago in Chiang Mai, Thailand -- could only finish ninth while junior Feri Narince Subnafeu was a place ahead on 3:03:14.
In the men's 20km walk, Indonesia's Kristian Lumban Tobing won the silver on 1:32:57 followed by countryman Indra on 1:35:45. Malaysian Boon Lim Teoh took the gold on 1:30:37.
Indonesian athlete Darwati took the silver in the women's 20 km walk after clocking 1:43:51. Yu Fang Yuan of Malaysia -- who created the Games record of 1:39:25 at the 2003 Games in Hanoi -- took the gold on 1:41:47, while Myanmarese Saw Mar Lar New earned the bronze on 1:46:28.