The curious domination of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games by host nations appears set to continue at this year's edition, which officially opens today in northeast Thailand.
The games may open today, but already a slew of medals have been awarded in events that preceded the opening ceremonies and Thailand leads with 18 gold.
The host nation is targeting 150 gold medals for the games, seeking to become the fourth consecutive host to dominate following the Philippines in 2005, Vietnam in 2003 and Malaysia in 2001.
The cause of host domination is moot, but a clue may be gained from the fact that Thailand was so outraged about officiating that favored the Philippines in 2005 that it threatened to elevate the issue into a diplomatic incident.
Thailand won 14 of the 34 gold medals in shooting this week, which preceded the games proper to avoid a clash with the Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait, and won all four golds on offer in aerobics yesterday.
Singapore prevented a Thai gold sweep on Wednesday by winning gold in the men's and women's team table tennis.
The 24th SEA Games is being held in the northeastern Thailand city of Nakhon Ratchasima -- more commonly known as Korat -- which has a population numbering more than 2 million people in the city and surrounding settlements.
It is the sixth time Thailand has hosted the SEA Games, which is a biannual event contested between Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, East Timor and Brunei-Darrusalam.
The first SEA Games in 1959 had 12 sports and 657 athletes, but has since ballooned to 45 events with 6,541 athletes for this year's event.
With the Olympic Games in Beijing beckoning, most attention in Korat will be on those harboring genuine Olympic medal hopes.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
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‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first