SINGAPORE — With the 30th SEA Games coming to an end on Wednesday (11 December), here are the athletes who made the biggest splash for each of the 11 participating countries:
Brunei: Mohammad Adi Salihin Roslan (wushu)
Brunei won two golds at this SEA Games, courtesy of its polo team, and wushu athlete Mohammad Adi Salihin Roslan. The 19-year-old – who was the flag bearer for his country in the 2017 SEA Games opening ceremony – won in the men’s taolu nandao/nangun combined competition on 2 December, and is the brightest talent in a sport which has grown in popularity in Brunei over the past decade.
Cambodia: Mengly Yong (arnis)
Cambodian athletes earned four golds this year, their best haul since 2013 when they won eight in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. Mengly Yong, 18, was the only athlete to have also won a silver medal in addition to his gold. Both medals were earned in the combat sport of arnis, with Yong winning the gold in the lightweight padded stick competition and silver in the live stick competition.
Indonesia: Dea Salsabila Putri (modern pentathlon)
She may not look the part, but the bespectacled Dea Salsabila Putri dominated women’s modern pentathlon, winning all three competitions that she participated in. In an event which demands proficiency and versatility in more than one sporting discipline, the 21-year-old Dea took home the golds in the women’s beach laser and triathle events, as well as the mixed beach triathle relay with Frada Saleh Harahap.
Laos: Soukan Taipanyavong (kickboxing)
Laos had to wait until the penultimate day of competition on Tuesday (10 December) to earn their only gold of the Games, and 28-year-old kickboxer Soukan Taipanyavong finally broke the duck when he beat Indonesia’s Bonatua Lumbantungkup in the men’s low kick 60kg final.
Malaysia: Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (gymnastics)
The reigning queen of gymnastics in Southeast Asia, this was Farah Ann Abdul Hadi’s most successful SEA Games outing since her debut in 2011. The 25-year-old – who became the first Malaysian in 20 years to qualify for gymnastics at the Olympics – had to endure online heckles on her “revealing” leotards whenever she competed. Yet she did not let the insults affect her performances, as she clinched three golds in the Philippines – in the floor exercise, the uneven bars and the coveted all-around title.
Myanmar: Maung Maung (billiards & snooker)
Of the four golds Myanmar won at the SEA Games, pool player Maung Maung accounted for two of them, winning in both the 9-ball singles and doubles competitions. The 25-year-old, who lives and trains in Beijing, is a well-known figure in the global pool circuit, being the first Myanmar player to reach the knockout rounds of the World 9-Ball Championship in 2017.
Philippines: Carlos Yulo (gymnastics)
He was given the honour of lighting the SEA Games cauldron at the opening ceremony, and 19-year-old Carlos Yulo lived up to his country’s expectations, as he clinched two golds and five silvers to become the Philippines’ most be-medalled athlete at the Games. Yulo – who was the first Filipino and Southeast Asian gymnast to win a gold at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, held in Stuttgart in October – won the floor exercise and all-around events, and silvers in the horizontal bar, pommel horse, parallel bars, still rings and vault.
Singapore: Quah Zheng Wen (swimming)
Both Quah Zheng Wen and his elder sister Ting Wen each won six golds in swimming for Singapore, but Zheng Wen earned two additional silvers to become the most be-medalled male athlete at the Games. With victories in three different swim strokes – freestyle, butterfly and backstroke – it is a welcome return to form for the versatile 23-year-old ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympics, which he has qualified for.
Thailand: Sarawut Sirironnachai (cycling)
Dominant in the road race events, Thai rider Sarawut Sirironnachai, 27, spearheaded his national team in winning two team golds in the mass start and time trial competitions. He also came in first in the mass start race to finish with three gold medals at the Games.
Timor Leste: Ana Da Costa (taekwondo)
Timor Leste had not won a SEA Games gold medal since 2013, so when taekwondo athlete Ana Da Costa lost in the final women’s 46kg final to Thailand’s Julalan Khantikulanon, the 20-year-old was inconsolable in defeat. Nonetheless, her silver medal was still Timor Leste’s first since 2015.
Vietnam: Nguyen Thi Anh Vien (swimming)
With six golds and two silvers, Nguyen Thi Anh Vien solidified her status as Southeast Asia’s top female swimmer of the past decade. Still only 23 years old, she has already amassed 25 golds, nine silvers and two bronzes in five Games editions. And since 2013, no one has come close to her in the 200m and 400m individual medley races, as she clinched her fourth straight gold medals in both events in Clark City.
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