Thursday, January 10, 2008

Young guns shine in track and field

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

New Indonesian stars Suryo Agung Wibowo and Triyaningsih were triumphant again on the track Tuesday, winning a gold medal apiece and leading the national track and field squad to a total of seven gold medals from 45 on offer.

Twenty-four-year-old Suryo captured his second gold medal by clocking 20.76 seconds in the men's 200 meters. Host sprinter Sittichai Suwonprateep took the silver with a time of 20.84, followed by Indonesia's John Herman Muray at 21.01.

Suryo broke the national record of 20.93 set by Purnomo at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California. Last Friday, Suryo set a new SEA Games record in the men's 100m by clocking 10.25, 0.01 second faster than the old record.

"I have no other words but thank God for giving me the chance to win two gold medals," he said after his victory.

"This is the result of our hard work in the past few months. If only we had more than a year, I think the result could be even better," he added.

Suryo was also part of the men's 4x100 team relay that Monday finished second with a time of 39.79 but broke the national record of 41.55.

Meanwhile, Triyaningsih also scored a double victory by taking her second gold in the women's 10,000m. She crossed the finish line in 34:07.35 followed by Pa Pa of Myanmar at 34:39.98 and Filipino Merledita Manipol at 35:05.57.

"I was targeted to win a gold since the beginning and it's been quite a burden for me. Thank God I can meet the target," the 25-year-old said.

Physical trainer John Robert Ballard praised his athletes' performances.

"Right from the start I've always said they had the potential to be great athletes on a world standard, not just Southeast Asia, and we can still do it," he said.

"It's been a marvelous result for us. I think it is the best result since 1993," added the Australian, whose team finished sixth in the men's 4x100 meter at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

In other track and field events, women's pole vaulter Ni Putu Desy Margawati took the bronze after leaping over the bar at 3.80 meters. Defending champion and record holder Roslinda Samsu won the gold with a height of 4.00m, below her old record of 4.10m. Deborah Samson of the Philippines was second with 3.90m.

In the men's 400m, Achmad Sumarsono Sakeh could only finish fifth as the gold medal was taken by Filipino Julius Felicimo Nierras Jr, followed by Thailand's Jukkatip Pojaren and Malaysia's Muhamad Zaiful Zainal Abidin.

Despite Achmad's poor finish, Ballard still believes he can qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"Achmad didn't perform well in the men's 400m final due to his knee injury, but I still believe he can qualify in time for the four hundred," he said.

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