Mon, 08 Dec 2003

Indonesian rowers victorious at West Lake with two golds

Musthofid The Jakarta Post Hanoi

Pere Karoba and the pairing of Agus Aji and Iswandi left their competitors in their wakes to secure two rowing gold medals for Indonesia at the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam on Saturday.

Competing in the women's single sculls, Pere covered the 2,000-meter distance at West Lake in Hanoi in 08:28.26, leaving Phuttaraksa Nikree of Thailand in second place with a time of 08:43.10. Elsie Lim Kim Hiok of Singapore was third in 08:52.64.

Agus/Iswandi clocked the best time of 07:12.70 in the men's lightweight coxless pair, about nine seconds better that silver medalists Alvin Amposta/Nestor Cordova of Philippines and 14 seconds ahead of home hopefuls Phan Than Hao/Hoang Duc Tan.

The team failed in the women's lightweight double sculls with Femy Batwael and Rosmina Sanggrang Bano struggling to fourth place behind Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.

With the wind sweeping sweatily over the lake in the center of the city, Pere pulled away early to build a three-second lead after the first 500 meters over closest rival and defending champion Thai Nikree.

Though Pere managed to improve her lead to five seconds at the halfway stage. Nikree, with the support of her team members cheering her on, reduced the gap to three seconds 500 meters from the finish line.

Over the final 500, Pere used her energy reserves to accelerate to an incredible 16 second win.

"I saw she (Nikree) pushed hard to catch with me early. I tried to be consistent with my speed after 1000 meters. I sped up in the last 500 and am grateful to have finished first," Pere said.

Nikree, who was optimistic about her prospects prior to the race, said she was proud to have given the nation a gold medal.

"I had no pressure. I was confident when I took to the water," she said.

Agus and Iswandi had a five-second lead after 500 meters and built the margin to nine seconds by the finish.

Delighted team manager Rudi Susilo said that he could not have hoped for larger winning margins.

"Nikree looked a bit declining. But as you see she was still able to gain success in the doubles," he said.

Teaming up with Bussayamas Phaengkathok Nikree helped the Thai team win the lightweight double sculls over Naw Lail Kafall/Myint Myint of Myanmar and Mai Thi Dung/Pham Thi Hien of Vietnam.

In the men's lightweight single sculls Vu Dang Tuan won for the hosts while Jose Rodriguez of the Philippines and Ruthtanaphol Theppibal of Thailand settled for the silver and bronze respectively.