World champions Ke Leng and Ouk Sreymom touched on their brilliant best in adversity to post a 13-8 win over Thailand with their last fling in the women’s petanque doubles title round to land Cambodia a first gold medal yesterday, on the top of the five bronze medals won so far in the ongoing 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
By the sheer weight of their class, Leng and Sreymom turned around a 8-10 deficit with a perfect five-point shot to peg the Thais back.
Thailand took an early lead 2-0 before Cambodia drew level at 2-2. Every move made by the Cambodians was countered by Thailand, who stretched the lead to 10-5.
But Leng and Sreymom remained stubbornly competitive.
Cheered on by the Cambodian contingent, led by the secretary-general of the NOCC, Vath Chamrouen, Sreymom, who celebrated a world championship success earlier this year, fired home the match-winning shot to the delight of her partner, two-time world champion Ke Leng.
Heartbreak in tie-breaks for Ka
In his congratulatory message, the NOCC secretary-general praised the courage displayed by the Cambodian duo in battling back from a corner to win the Kingdom’s first gold medal at the Games.
Cambodia’s hopes of going better than bronze in tennis was shattered in the morning as the heartbreak came in two bitterly fought tie-breaks for Andrea Ka in the women’s singles semifinals as she went down by the barest of margins, 7-6, 7-6, to Anna Clarice Patrimonio of the Philippines at the Sports Complex Jalan Duta.
Up 5-2, the fourth-seeded Ka lost five points in a row to lose the first set tie-break 5-7.
From 4-1 down in the second, she battled back to 4-4, then nosed ahead 5-4 only to find Patrimonio play two exquisite points to go up 6-5 before she wrapped up the intense two-hour fight to progress to the gold medal final match.
The semifinal loss left Ka with a bronze medal, the Kingdom’s first ever in a women’s tennis event.
Indonesia down Cambodia
Cambodia’s depressing football campaign at the SEA Games ended with their fifth straight defeat, squarely beaten 2-0 by Indonesia, who on the strength of this victory made it to the semifinals after Thailand topped Group B with a convincing 3-0 win over Vietnam.
In a dramatic finish to the group stage, early leaders Vietnam were eliminated by 2015 winners Thailand, with Myanmar progressing. The Thais were held to a 1-1 draw in their opening game against Indonesia.
In Group A, Malaysia and Indonesia made the semifinals at the expense of Singapore.
Cambodia did well to come out of the first session on level terms but Indonesia stepped up the tempo in the second and came away with two goals for the victory.
Malaysia top medal table
Hosts Malaysia led the gold hunt with 56 as of yesterday, and they topped the table with 43 silver and 33 bronze medals for a total of 132.
Singapore are second with 27-25-29 (81), followed by Vietnam on 27-20-27 (74).
Thailand are fourth with 22-34-38 (94) with Indonesia next at 16-18-33 (67), followed by Philippines 11-16-23 (50), Myanmar (5-5-9 (19), Cambodia 1-0-5 (6), Brunei 0-1-5 (6), Laos 0-1-3 (4) and Timor Leste 0-0-0.
Picture supplied by the Phnom Penh Post.