Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Malaysians second best in 800m races

MALAYSIA failed to add to the gold-medal count on the second day of the athletics competition at the National Sports Complex Main Stadium yesterday.

Hopes of securing the gold medals in both the men’s and women’s 800m races were dashed by Vietnamese runners.

Mohd Jironi Riduan was only 20m away from winning his first SEA Games gold medal before being pipped by Nguyen Dinh Cuong in the men’s event.

Jironi was left heartbroken as he had broken away from the leading pack with 200m to go but he ran out of steam on the final stretch.

Dinh Cuong played his cards right by tailing Jironi before bursting past the Malaysian at the death. The Vietnamese clocked 1:50.64 and Jironi took silver in 1:50.98. The other Malaysian, S. Mathialagan, took the bronze in 1:51.75.

Dinh Cuong was a double gold medallist at the 2007 Games in Korat, winning both the 800m and 1,500m events.

“I knew that Nguyen’s main weapon will be his superior speed in the final stretch. My strategy was to break away with a half a lap remaining but unfortunately I was unable to open up a sizable gap,” said Jironi, who won the bronze in Korat.

“I was unaware of how near he was behind me in the closing stages and could not hold him off as I was too occupied with getting to the finish line.”

In the women’s 800m, K. Ganthimathi was denied the gold medal by Truong Than Hang, who won the race in 2:02.74. The 22-year-old Ganthimathi clocked 2:07.99.

Meanwhile, Noor Amira Nafiah finished last in the women’s triple jump, posting a 12.12m effort. Thailand’s Thitima Muangjian took the gold medal with a leap of 14.08m.

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