KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 – Singapore and Philippines opened their SEA Games athletics campaign on a golden note with Guillame Soh Rui Yong and Mary Joy Tabal winning their respective SEA Games men’s and women’s marathon events held at Putrajaya route on Saturday (Aug 19).
Soh, 25 year-old defending champion, completed the men’s marathon race in 2hrs:24mins.25s, edging Indonesia’s Agus Prayogo who came in second in 2:27.16s. A total of 15 marathoners from 9 countries competed in the event. Hosts Malaysia had to settle for the bronze, with Muhaizar Muhammad finishing in 2:35.05s.
In the women’s marathon, Mary Joy earned Philippines’ first gold of the Games wth a convincing performance, crossing the finishing tape in 2hrs:43m.31s, edging Vietnam’s Hoang Thi Thanh (2:45.09s) and Thailand’s T. Natthaya (2:44.45s) for the silver and broze medals respectively.
Athletics programme resumes on Tuesday (22 Aug) at Bukit Jalil National Stadium with eight gold medals up for grabs in men’s discuss throw, men’s 20km walk, women’s 400m hurdles, men’s 400m hurdles, women 100m and men’s 100m, men’s shot put and women’s javelin.
Soh was ecstatic with the victory and proud to be the first to clinch the gold in the athletics, saying that his hardwork, dedication and training all this while had paid off. “This win is for all Singaporeans, ” he told reporters soon after the victory in Putrajaya. There were cheers in the Malaysian camp as well as Muhaizar’s bronze medal achievement ended the country’s 44 year wait for a medal in the men’s marathon.