Wed, 15 Oct 1997

Thailand and Indonesia dominate the pool

By I. Christianto and Sylvia Gratia Miranda

JAKARTA (JP): Traditional swim rivals Indonesia and Thailand are vying for top honors in the pool, with the hosts netting two of the seven golds on offer yesterday and Thailand three.

Indonesia won the 4 x 100 meter men's freestyle relay with a new Games record of 3:28.66, breaking its own 3:30.66 from 1993.

Chaterine Surya won the women's 100 meters butterfly (1:02.40) for the second gold.

"I am very happy with this win because I am not specialized in this event," she said. "I am also grateful as I bettered the 1:03.60 I set in Australia last April."

It was also an early birthday present as she turns 17 today.

Thailand's three gold medalists yesterday were Torlarp Sethisothorn in the men's 400 meters freestyle (3:58.63), Chonlathorn Vorathamrong in the women's 100 meters backstroke (1:05.78) and Ravee Intporn-Udom in the women's 800 meters freestyle in a Games record of 8:56.88.

Raymond Papa of the Philippines celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday by winning gold in the men's 100 meters backstroke. Malaysia's Anthony Ang took gold in the men's 100 meters butterfly in 55.64.

In women's 100 meters backstroke, Silvy Triana of Indonesia was second behind Varathamrong in 1:06.06, and Kathy Echiverri of the Philippines touched in for bronze with 1:06.58..

Thai's Praphalsai Minpraphal was silver medalist in the 100 meters butterfly with 1:03.30, just pipping 1:03.33.

Albert C. Sutanto of Indonesia won the bronze medal in men's 100 meters butterfly.

Malaysia took the silver in the men's relay and Singapore the bronze. Thailand, which finished second, was disqualified because its second swimmer jumped before the first had touched the wall.

Earlier on the day, the host water polo team won the silver, its first medal in the event in 10 years.

Indonesia beat Thailand 8-5 to finish behind Singapore and ahead of the Philippines in the round-robin competition. Local top scorer was Lazuardi M. Ardhy with three goals.

Indonesian swimming team manager Anangga Rusdiono said the medal was unexpected as most of the team were still juniors, and training had only begun in March of this year, a full five months after other national sports teams.

"But anything is possible in sport, just like our winning today," he said.

The Indonesian Swimming Federation hired Rumanian Paul Niculescu in July to assist in training. The squad had previously been under local trainer Boyke.

Singapore maintained its regional dominance of the sport with a convincing 16-6 win over the Philippines.

In a remarkable run, the island state has won every gold in the Games since 1965.

Singapore coach Ye Oon Tat said he was relieved his team could continue its supremacy in the event.

"Frankly, we were not expecting gold because other countries have sent their athletes for overseas training, and we thought it would be a very hard fight."

In women's platform diving, Thailand's teenage star Tammaros Sukrutai earned 465.48 points in four dives for gold, followed by Indonesia's Shenny Ratna Amalia with 462.27 points.

Nani Suryani of Indonesia was third with 441.93 points.

Tammaros, 15 and tipped for the Asian Games next year, won her first gold in the 3-meter springboard on Monday.