Indonesia still overall leader on Tuesday

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia continued its lead in the 26th SEA Games medal tally on Tuesday or the games` fifth day having collected 73 gold, 58 silver and 56 bronze medals until 10 pm.

Thailand followed in second place with 46 gold, 35 silver and 54 bronze medals. Vietnam meanwhile was ranked third with 36 gold, 42 silver and 49 bronze medals.

On the fifth day on Tuesday, 13 gold medals were contested in a number of events such as athletics, vovinam, swimming, taekwondo, tennis and men`s team badminton.

Compared to the collection of medals earlier, however, the medal collection on Tuesday was smaller. On Monday, Indonesia swept 20 gold medals or more than the 17 gold medals it won on Sunday.

Indonesia`s two closest rivals ,namely Thailand and Vietnam, also won fewer top honors on Tuesday, namely only eight and nine gold medals respectively.

Of the 13 gold medals contested on Tuesday, Indonesia won two from vovinam. This was noteworthy because Vietnam where the martial arts sport originated also won two gold medals from vovinam.

"Our target has been almost achieved but two golds and two bronzes today were already maximal. There will be more opportunities on Wednesday,"Bagus Gede Wiyana, president of the Indonesian Vovinam Association, Wiyana said.

Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng who had earlier doubted the capability of Indonesian athletes in the new sport was amazed at what they had achieved.

"Frankly speaking, I was at first doubtful about achieving our target but with the results today, my doubts are gone. Although it is a new sport, our athletes have proven they can compete in it," he said.

Indonesia on Tuesday heroically also won a gold from the men`s team badminton beating Malaysia 3-1 to equalize the achievement made in the last SEA Games in 2009.

The victory made up for supporters` disappointment over the country`s women`s team who was beaten by Thailand in the final.

Badminton still offers more gold medals to grab through individual events that will be started on Wednesday until Saturday.`

"The minimum target is four golds and so far only one has been won. We hope more will be won from individual events," manager of Indonesian badminton team Maria Fransisca said.

Indonesia`s success so far must not make athletes off guard because rival countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore still need to be watched.

In the biking race for example Thailand has begun trailing the host in gold medal collection.

Until the fourth day Thailand`s biking team has won two golds from Team Time Trial and Individual Time Trial while Indonesia four golds.

In athletics Thailand has collected three golds in addition to golds from tennis and bridge. Its women badminton players meanwhile are favorites for winning gold medals.`

Singapore meanwhile had dominated swimming events collecting so far 13 gold medals and table tennis with three gold medals.

Other rivals Indonesia must not ignore are Malaysia and Vietnam.

Vietnam is strong in athletics, fencing and martial arts while Malaysia in swimming, bowling and diving.

"Indonesia must not allow itself to become complacent,"the chief of the Indonesia National Sports Committee, Rita Subowo, said.

She said although Indonesia had until now remained at the top, its position was not fully secure. "Thailand which is right below us, must be closely watched," she said.

Rita issued the warning because many competitions in a wide range of sports still had take place in the days ahead.

"If we become complacent, Thailand will certainly capitalize on it to replace us in the top position," she said.

Until the fifth day of the games, a total of 221 gold medals have been distributed on 545 matches in 44 sport branches.

Indonesia has set itself a target of wining minimally 150 gold medals to become the overall champion of the games.  (*)