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The Cambodian contingent marches at the opening ceremony of the biennial SEA Games in Singapore
The Cambodian contingent marches at the opening ceremony of the biennial SEA Games in Singapore’s National Stadium on June 5. AFP

Petanque bowls another bronze

Petanque players delivered another bronze medal on Cambodia’s final day of competition at the 28th SEA Games at the Padang boules alley yesterday, bringing the Kingdom’s tally to 15.

The Cambodian camp was thrilled when the men’s triples team made it to the semifinals against Malaysia, but the result was not what it expected. Malaysia beat Cambodia 13-8 to earn the right to meet Thailand, who edged out Laos 13-12 in the other semifinal.

Petanque was by far Cambodia’s most productive discipline, earning four silver and five bronze medals. The Kingdom’s only gold medal came in sepaktakraw.

“We have come up a bit short on our expectations in petanque. We were hoping for a couple of gold medals, but overall it has remained our main contributor,’’ noted Cambodia’s chef de mission and secretary general of the National Olympic Committee, Vath Chamroeun.

“I am happy tennis regained an individual bronze medal through Bun Kenny. There were some disappointments elsewhere, but overall our athletes have done their best and we hope to build on some of these good performances,” he said.

Meanwhile, a city state gripped by the feverish excitement of the Games is now preparing for today’s grand finale.

A nearly three-hour long spectacular visual delight awaits a packed National Stadium this evening during an elaborate closing ceremony which will be a heady mix of the past, present and the future.

Tradition will be given due respect, with an athletes’ march past, the extinguishing of the Games flame and the handover of the SEA Games Federation flag to the next host in 2017 – Malaysia.

Spectators at the closing ceremony will take away a commemorative SEA Games supporters’ medallion, modelled on the event’s gold medal.

Thais increase medal lead
Thailand beat Myanmar 3-0 in the men’s football final yesterday to lead hosts Singapore by 10 golds, all but guaranteeing their prospects of bringing home the overall SEA Games champions’ crown again.

Thailand’s tally was 93 gold medals yesterday, 10 ahead of second-placed hosts Singapore, who had 83. Vietnam were third with 73 golds.

On Sunday the Thais won two golds in tennis, three in pencak silat (Indonesian martial arts), and one each in rowing, water skiing, bowling and taekwondo.

The tennis team’s haul of six golds, two silvers and three bronze medals at the Kallang tennis centre well exceeded their pre-tournament expectations, although hopes of recording a clean sweep were dashed by a determined Filipino duo who spoiled an otherwise perfect final day on the court.

Cambodia are in eighth place with one gold, five silver and nine bronze medals.

Fans back ‘genitalia’ row gymnast
Thousands of people have shown their support for Malaysian gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi after she was criticised for competing in revealing clothing at the Games.
By yesterday, 11,000 people had “liked” the Facebook page “Farah Ann Abdul Hadi For Malaysia” which calls for “praise and support” for the double gold medallist.

Last week, some critics in the majority-Muslim country slammed the 21-year-old, saying they could see the shape of her aurat (genitalia) in her leotard.

Abdul Hadi wrote on the page: “I would just like to express my sincerest gratitude to all of you who have been supporting me.

“It is such an overwhelming feeling to have had such a great and positive respond from all of you.”

Abdul Hadi, who won six medals in total at the Games in Singapore, has won broad support in the controversy including from Malaysia’s youth and sports minister.

In response to her critics, Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted: “In gymnastics Farah wowed the judges and brought home gold. In her deeds only the Almighty judges her. Not you. Leave our athletes alone.”

However, divisions remain and one Malaysian Islamic group reportedly called for guidelines to help female Muslim athletes stay sharia law-compliant when they compete.

“Women should not be stopped from sports, but they must prioritise the Islamic codes in sports attire,” said Roszida Kamaruddin, head of the female wing of the National Muslim Youth Association, according to the Malay Mail.

“Furthermore, there are many Muslim female athletes who succeed even by covering their aurat.”

Additional reporting by Bangkok Post/AFP

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