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Rio 2016: South East Asia on the podium

Updated Wednesday, 17th August 2016

Jonathan Schooling's victory over the seemingly unbeatable Michael Phelps was just one high spot in an Olympics that brought success to South Eastern Asian competitors.

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The Olympic games are not yet over but several Southeast Asian countries are already celebrating their historic victories this year.

Joseph Schooling Creative commons image Icon Chan-Fan under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license Joseph Schooling at an event in 2015

Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling gained instant global fame after defeating Olympic champions Michael Phelps of the United States and Chad le Clos of South Africa in the 100m butterfly event at Rio 2016.

Aside from Schooling, three other athletes from Southeast Asia have won a gold medal in Rio as of this writing. They were Thai weightlifters Sukanya Srisurat and Sopita Tanasan, and Vietnamese shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh.

Schooling’s victory was special because it gave Singapore its first ever Olympic gold medal.

Sports fans highlighted that Schooling defeated Phelps, his sports idol whom he first met eight years ago.

Meanwhile, Southeast Asia’s first gold medal in Rio was courtesy of Thailand’s Sopita Tanasan who won the weightlifting women’s 48-kilogram category.

News of her victory was cheered in particular by her fellow compatriots from Chumphon province, where officials even vowed to pave the road leading to her village in honor of her victory.

Thailand’s second gold medal was won by Sukanya Srisurat who set an Olympicrecord of 110 kilograms for weightlifting in the 58-kilogram category.

sukanya srisurat sets a new Olympic record in the snatch (110kg) and wins gold in the women's 58kg weight class pic.twitter.com/qZ4LLDA4LU

— Amy P (@spicylychee) August 8, 2016

The victory of Hoang Xuan Vinh in the 10m air pistol category was also memorablebecause it gave Vietnam its first ever Olympic gold medal.

Sports commentators mentioned that Vinh’s victory was remarkable since he is short-sighted and he practiced with paper targets and a shortage of ammunition because of funding constraints.

As expected, news of Vinh's victory became a trending topic in Vietnam:

Singapore and Vietnam are rejoicing after finally winning a gold medal in the Olympics. Thailand has already won two golds this year.

The Philippines has not yet bagged a gold victory but it got its first Olympic medal intwenty years after Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz claimed silver in in the women’s 53-kilogram weightlifting.

This article was originally published by Global Voices under a CC-BY licence

 

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