Thailand’s goal: 100 golds, overall crown
On the eve of the 25th Southeast Asian Games in Laos, the head of the Thailand Olympic Committee bared his country’s strong intention of keeping the overall crown in the 11-nation regional event.
“Anything less than the overall title will be a disappointment for us,” Gen Yutthasak Sasiprabha, the TOC president, told The Bangkok Post.
“We expect to win about 100 gold medals,” he added.
The Thai government has put up an incentive package of 200,000 baht for every gold, 100,000 for a silver and 50,000 for the bronze, just enough to get all their 800 athletes, probably the biggest delegation in the Games, to go for the gold and bring home the bacon.
If they do, it will be the first time in the last four editions of the SEA Games that a non-host would win the overall crown. Thailand, ironically, was also the last country to do it when it won the overall crown in Brunei in 1999.
The chef-de-mission of the RP Team, Mario Tanchangco, said the race for the overall crown will be a three-cornered race among Thailand, Vietnam (the 2003 overall champion) and the Philippines (the 2007 overall champion). – Abac Cordero