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SEA Games: Inquest starts for table-topping Thailand

John Weaver AFP 19.12.2009 07:58
SEA Games: Inquest starts for table-topping Thailand - Thailand - Sports - SEA Games

VIENTIANE — Thailand confirmed their status as top dogs at the Southeast Asian Games with their table-topping display -- but an inquest has already started into why they did not reach their pre-tournament target.

The Thais won 86 golds out of 372 -- just three clear of Vietnam and double third-placed Indonesia's tally but they failed to hit 100 in a slimmed-down programme of events in Laos's capital Vientiane.

Singapore were kings of the pool at the 10-day biennial showpiece. Thailand came out on top in athletics but suffered a shock loss in the football tournament, crashing out in the group stage to eventual winners Malaysia.

Two years ago, then-hosts Thailand dominated the medals standings with 183 golds out of a total of 477 -- well ahead of second-placed Malaysia on 68 and Vietnam on 64 -- taking their eighth consecutive gold in the under-23 football.

Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart, whose brief includes sport, was upset by Thailand's performance in the 25th SEA Games that finished Friday, according to the Bangkok Post.

"I am disappointed by our performances in many sports, particularly football," he told the paper. "We will have to look into details to find out why athletes in many sports performed badly."

National Olympic Committee of Thailand president General Yuthasak Sasiprapha said that there were many factors behind the nation's failure to meet their 100-gold target, blaming poor management in some sports.

"We have money and human resources to develop our athletes and we should use them to the maximum effect," he said, according to the Post.

Thailand, who won a total of 266 medals overall to Vietnam's 215, did not have enough information about their opponents and wrongly estimated how many golds they would win, he said.

He added that the games contained many regional sports that Thailand were not familiar with such as fin swimming and shuttlecock -- a game in which players aim to keep a weighted projectile in the air using their feet and other parts of the body but not their hands or arms.

"The number of these sports must be reduced," the Olympic chief said, according to the report.


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