Five days before the official opening of the 2013 Southeast Asian Games, defending champion Thailand and Myanmar have already secured two gold medals each on Friday in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
Those medals were from Chinlone—a traditional sport in Myanmar similar to sipa or sepak takraw.
Thailand dominated the Chinlone Men’s The Same Strokes event while Cambodia settled for silver, and Laos and Malaysia were awarded one bronze each. The Thai squad also topped the Chinlone Women’s The Same Strokes category, beating second-place Laos and third-placer Malaysia.
Myanmar also reigned supreme in the Chinlone Women’s Linking, ahead of silver medalist Thailand and bronze winners Cambodia and Malaysia. The host country made it a double celebration by claiming the gold medal in the Chinlone Men’s Linking against Thailand (silver), and Laos (bronze) and Malaysia (bronze).
The Philippines did not participate in Chinlone.
Thailand leads the medal tally with two golds and two silvers followed by Myanmar with two golds, Laos with one silver and two bronzes, Cambodia with one silver and one bronze and Malaysia with four bronzes.
The Philippines is expected to earn its first medal when the wushu team plunges into action today at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium.
Wushu and other combat sports like wrestling boxing, tae kwon do, judo and karatedo are among the possible gold mines of the country. The start-studded billiards and snooker team is also aiming to win at least four gold medals.
Former world champion Dennis Orcollo, legendary cue master Efren “Bata” Reyes, Carlo Biado and veteran snooker Francisco de la Cruz will be leading the men’s squad while two-time World Women’s 10-Ball champion Rubilen Amit and defending SEA Games 8-Ball and 9-Ball titlist Iris Ranola take part in the women’s division.
Emil C. Noguera