Thai shooters claim clean sweep on Day Four

Thai shooters make clean sweep on Day Four

Thailand showed why they are South-east Asia's shooting powerhouses, sweeping all four gold medals on offer at the National Shooting Centre yesterday.

From the 50-metre rifle prone pairing of Ratchadaporn Plengsaengthong and Thanyalak Chotphibunsin to Jiranunt Hathaichukiat in the men's individual skeet, the mighty Thais were a cut above the rest at the ranges in Choa Chu Kang.

They also won the men's skeet team and the women's 50-metre rifle prone event.

Singapore had to settle for a bronze from the men's 50m rifle prone and three silvers from the women's 50m rifle prone, men's skeet team and men's skeet.

Men's skeet gold medallist Jiranunt, 28, provided the highlight of the day when he battled back to beat Singapore's Low Jiang Hao.

The defending champion from the 2007 Games in Thailand - the men's skeet event was not included from the 2009 to 2013 Games - looked like he was going to be dethroned by 21-year-old Low, who was making his Games debut.

After the first two rounds of qualifiers, Low was sitting pretty on top of the 12-man field, with Jiranunt in second place.

Low kept his lead in the semi-finals, and it all changed in the final.

Jiranunt's (right) precise shooting saw him race to a 4-2 lead, and he never looked back, clinching the gold medal with a score of 13-10.

Jiranunt said: "I think I did quite well today, because my opponent pushed me all the way. In the end, I had a bit of luck on my side, so that helped."

Despite missing out on the gold, Low was satisfied with his showing.

"I led all the way until the final, so I think that shows my capability," he said.

"This is my first SEA Games and, honestly, I wasn't expecting to do this well. I didn't expect to finish with any medals. But now, to get silver, it's a boost."

Singapore's rifle coach Elham Hashemi Masoumi said: "The team gave it everything today, they did really well. But Thailand deserved credit, their shooters were in top form."

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Malaysians out to beat Vietnam's Phan

REBOUND: Malaysia's Farah Ann Abdul Hadi wins a bronze in the uneven bars 
despite a fall. 


She is arguably the face of women's gymnastics in the region.

Vietnam's Phan Thi Ha Thanh (right) entered the South-east Asia (SEA) Games with five golds from previous outings.

On Monday, she won the women's individual all-round and, yesterday, the former Asian champion in the vault claimed the gold in the individual event at the Bishan Sports Hall.

Phan, 23, finished sixth in the uneven bars but, with four more individual events to come, last year's Asian Games silver medallist in the balance beam should add to her gold-medal haul.

Malaysian duo Tan Ing Yueh and Farah Ann Abdul Hadi are hot on her heels.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, 21-year-old Farah Ann said: "At the last SEA Games, she was up there, and we weren't. But now it's a close fight.

"It shows that the South-east Asian gymnasts have upgraded and we can fight internationally.

"The fact that she's a South-east Asian gymnast inspires me that I can be as good as her one day. She's pushed me really hard to want to upgrade my skills to get up to her level."

Ing Yueh, 19, agreed.

"It's a good thing that we get to compete with her. Especially in the vault, her skill level is very high so I know I need to improve to be at the same level with her."

Phan scored 13.983 points to claim the vault gold, ahead of Ing Yueh (13.466) and Farah Ann (13.316).

The Malaysian duo exacted some revenge in the uneven bars, with Ing Yueh scoring 12.766 to bag her first individual gold at this Games. Her compatriot suffered a painful fall but still managed to clinch the bronze (12.200), behind the Philippines' Ava Lorein Verdeflor (12.366).

For today's floor and beam exercises, Farah Ann says anything can happen.

"A lot of the finalists are really good so it'll be tough.".

In the men's competition, Singapore picked up two silver medals through Hoe Wah Toon (floor exercise) and Gabriel Gan (pommel horse), behind Reyland Capellan of the Philippines and Thai Rartchawat Kaewpanya respectively.

Jurassic World hunk Chris Pratt tops our list of hottest Hollywood dads

Hollywood is being overrun by hot dads we love to ogle

HOT DAD: Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Women, here's a way to celebrate Father's Day differently: Ogle some of Hollywood's hottest dads.

It seems like every other celebrity has recently become a new dad and these new dads are not at all shy about lavishing attention on their wives and kids.

Are your ovaries exploding yet?

Father's Day need not be just about the tired fathers out there struggling with diaper duty. Dads can be cool head-turners, too.


1 CHRIS PRATT

He may have relinquished his dad bod for a more chiselled body that he's been showing off on magazine covers. But Pratt will always be a dad at heart.

At a recent press junket in Beijing for his new movie Jurassic World, which opens here tomorrow, the US actor, who has a two-year-old son, Jack, with actress Anna Faris, admitted that fatherhood is a continuous learning journey.

Pratt, 35, got his start in Hollywood as that lovable chubby guy in TV series Parks And Recreation. He got his big break in last year's summer hit Guardians Of The Galaxy. Now, he's headlining Jurassic World, where he plays Owen Grady, a former navy man-turned-dinosaur researcher.

Pratt is in demand, but it won't get in the way of family. He said: "I have to spend at least some time with my son every day through Skype or just a video I'll send him."

But he admitted that the tough decisions will have to be made when Jack gets older.

"I might just have to turn down some jobs because I haven't spent enough time with him. He's more important to me than show business."


FIT DAD: Chris Hemsworth with his daughter. PHOTOS: HFPA, INSTAGRAM/ELSAPATAKYCONFIDENTIAL​

2 CHRIS HEMSWORTH

Where does Hemwsorth find the time to keep in shape, take on huge roles like Thor and still be a devoted father?

Does the hunky 31-year-old Aussie have a superpower that we don't know about?

The father of three-year-old India Rose and 15-month-old twins Tristan and Sasha looks best when he's topless at a beach playing with his brood.

There are many paparazzi photos online of him carrying his babies around, proving just how hands-on he is.

He even lets India Rose paint his nails and put lipstick on him.


PHOTO:INSTAGRAM/VANCITYRYANREYNOLDS

3 RYAN REYNOLDS

Reynolds is a relatively new dad, but that doesn't make the 38-year-old Canadian any less hot.

While there haven't been any photos of his little girl, James (yes, you read that right), who was born last December, he can't resist talking about her at press appearances.

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, he joked: "Our baby's allergic to sleep. We think she's protecting us from the sleep monsters."


PHOTO: WARNER BROS

4 RYAN GOSLING

There haven't been many photos of Gosling's spawn with actress Eva Mendes, but we are going to bet that the 34-year-old Canadian is a hot dad to baby Esmeralda, who was born last September.

The notoriously private actor recently said why feminism matters: "I have a little girl now and it's important to me."


PHOTO: AFP

5 MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Based on his speeches at award shows, it's clear that family means the world to this Oscar-winning US actor, who is father to sons Livingston, two, and Levi, seven, and daughter Vida, five.

But it sounds like Levi also knows just how important daddy's recent career renaissance is.

The 45-year-old said that Levi once told him that he would grab the Best Actor Academy Award his dad won for Dallas Buyers Club if they were to ever flee their home because of a tsunami.

"Good boy," said McConaughey.


STYLO DAD: David Beckham and oldest son Brooklyn. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/DAVIDBECKHAM

6 DAVID BECKHAM

The Beckhams are the real royal family. And British football superstar David Beckham, who has three sons and a daughter with his wife Victoria Beckham, is very much a family man.

He told talk show host James Corden that he sat five tables from Brooklyn, 16, on the boy's first date.

And ever the proud father, Beckham, 40, was thrilled that Harper, four, was taking after him when he posted a photo of her, well, bending it like Beckham on Instagram, with the caption: "Mia Hamm (US football star), eat your heart out. Harper Seven taking lessons from her brothers (oh and her dad)."


SINGING DAD: Jessica Biel and son Silas Randall Timberlake. PHOTOS: REUTERS, INSTAGRAM/ JUSTINTIMBERLAKE

7 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Only time will tell if US singer-actor Justin Timberlake's son with actress Jessica Biel, three-month-old Silas Randall Timberlake, will be half as cool as his 34-year-old dad.

There hasn't been much news from the Timberlakes, so it's safe to assume that parenting has been consuming their time.


A-STAR DAD: (Clockwise from above) Will Smith and his kids Jaden and Willow. PHOTOS: WARNER BROS, REUTERS, INSTAGRAM/WILLOWSMITH

8 WILL SMITH

Sure, the Hollywood star's teen offspring Jaden, 16, and Willow, 14, with actress-wife Jada Pinkett Smith are a little off-kilter.

But it's nice that he supports them in all of their showbiz endeavours, which include music and films.

And let's not forget that Smith, at 46, looks pretty much the same as he did 20 years ago.

Where is that youth elixir potion and where can we get some?

Kayla ends Philippines' 20-year wait for sprint queen

Teen ends Filipino 20-year sprint drought with photo-finish victory in women's 100m

FASTEST FEMALES: (From near left) Singapore's Shanti Pereira finishes third in the women's 100m, behind gold medallist Kayla Richardson of the Philippines and Thailand's Tassaporn Wannakit. - PHOTOS: SINGSOC/ACTION IMAGES

Twenty long years.

That was how long the Philippines have had to bide their time.

Yesterday evening, the wait was finally over, when teenage sensation Kayla Richardson won the gold medal in the women's 100m at the National Stadium.

Still only 17, she produced a brilliant display to pip Thailand's Tassaporn Wannakit in a photo-finish after both crossed the line in 11.76, while Singapore's Shanti Pereira (11.88) took the bronze medal.

The last Filipino woman to win gold in the 100m was Elma Muros at the 1995 South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Chiang Mai.

That was also during a period when the Philippines dominated the event, with Lydia de Vega winning three of four gold medals from 1987 to 1993.

During yesterday's race, she displayed all the traits of a seasoned veteran, looking a picture of concentration at the starting blocks to the confidence she exuded with every stride.

Yet, Kayla remains a teenage girl at heart and she gave everyone a heart-warming reminder of that at the finish line, as she tried to come to terms with the fact that she had just become South-east Asia's fastest woman.

Despite compatriot and fellow competitor Princess Griffey's frenetic celebrating by her side, the California native could manage only a look of utter shock when it dawned that the gold was hers.

AMAZED

She also looked nervous and uncomfortable at being peppered by questions after the race, but answered them with a youthful innocence.

"I'm so amazed at what just happened," she said.

"I can't really explain it... I'm just speechless at the moment."

Then, after a momentary pause, she added: "This is what I came here to do and I'm glad I was able to accomplish it.

"I think I'm younger than all the other competitors, so that was a challenge in itself.

"There were also the nerves to deal with, but I'm happy with the way I handled it and the way I managed to represent my country in the best possible way."

Having helped the Philippines reclaim their place at the top, the onus will now be on Kayla to keep her country there at the pinnacle of women's sprints.

And, considering that she felt yesterday's performance was far from perfect, one can only imagine how good she might be in the years to come.

"I knew that I had to get out of the blocks quickly, but my start wasn't that good," she explained.

"But I knew I could rely on my top-end speed and, in the end, it worked out for the best."

Richardson's win completed a sprint double (10 minutes earlier Eric Cray won the men's 100m) and helped her country to a total of three golds and one silver in athletics yesterday.

Athletics gold medallists among new breed of mixed-heritage Filipinos

BIG DAY: Caleb Stuart's hammer title is one of three athletics gold won by the Philippines yesterday. - PHOTO: SINGSOC/ACTION IMAGES

It has worked in recent years for their football team, and it did the trick again on Sunday when the Philippines won the men's rugby 7s gold medal at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

Now, the Filipinos also look like they are shaping up to be a formidable regional force in track and field following the emergence of several mixed heritage athletes.

It was a day to remember for the Philippines after they clinched three of the eight gold medals on offer on the opening day of the track and field programme at the National Stadium yesterday.

Leading the way was Eric Cray, who produced a scintillating run to become the first Filipino to win the men's 100m gold medal, leaving the rest of the field in his wake with a time of 10.25sec.

FOREIGN TALENT

Like Kayla Richardson and Caleb Stuart, who won the women's 100m and men's hammer throw respectively, yesterday, Cray is born to an American father but qualifies to represent Philippines through his mother.

But, unlike most of his mixed-blood compatriots, Cray was actually born in the country and hails from Olongapo, Zambales.

And he believes there should not be any doubt over the legitimacy of him representing Philippines.

"I definitely have Filipino blood," he said, with a wry grin.

"I think we're seeing more and more athletes with similar origins, but the most important thing is that we know and cherish the traditions of Filipino people.

"My mother is a Filipina and I was born and raised there, before moving to the United States.

"I'm just proud to represent the country of my mother, which I also regard as my country."

Kayla, 17, completed a sprint double for the country when she pipped Thailand's Tassapon Wannakit in a photo-finish to bag the women's 100m with a time of 11.76sec.

As part of this new wave of athletes, the teenager is optimistic it could spell a golden era in Philippines track and field.

She said: "You better believe it… Philippines are coming up!

"I was born in California but my mother is Filipino, and I've been representing Philippines for three to four years now.

"I'm just happy to represent my country and I'm glad I was able to do what I came here to do, which was to win the gold medal."

Rounding off an excellent outing for the Philippines was Stuart's triumph in the hammer throw.

His best was a distance of 65.63m, which eclipsed the previous Games record by 3.4m.

The 24-year-old is also competing in the discus and shot put and will be gunning for gold in the latter discipline this evening, although he faces stiff competition from Games' record holder, Chatchawal Polyiam of Thailand.


17.13m

The gap between the Philippines’ Caleb Stuart vicrtorious hammer throw of 65.63m to this year’s best result, the 82.76m set by Poland’s Pawel Fajdek.

Philippines call for gender tests on Indon volleyball player

A gender row hit the SEA Games yesterday after the Philippines demanded that organisers carry out tests on a women's volleyball player from Indonesia.

A team official confirmed that the Philippines had asked for a gender test on Aprilia Santini Manganang, 23, ahead of their game tomorrow.

Competition organisers were not immediately available for comment and there was no response from officials from Indonesia to what risks becoming a storm of controversy.

The Philippines' delegation spokesman said she didn't expect any test to be carried out before the game.

"She's very powerful, it's like putting a male in the female division," said Philippines coach Roger Gorayeb said, according to Inquirer.net.

"Whether she plays or not, it doesn't matter because we will be playing our best here," he added.

- AFP.

Evan Ross inspired by famous mum and wife for new single

He may have rich and famous parents but US singer-actor Evan Ross does not depend on them

MUSE: Singer Evan Ross says he is inspired by his wife, singer Ashlee Simpson (left), to make music. The couple is expecting their first child, a daughter. 


Evan Ross was born with a silver spoon in his mouth - his mother is legendary singer Diana Ross (below) and father the late wealthy businessman Arne Naess Jr.

But a surprisingly thoughtful and mature young man walked into the boardroom of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in Los Angeles and talked about not having his career handed to him despite his privileged background.

"I think the part that becomes hard is that a lot of times... people don't feel like they can go on that journey with you because your life has been so different.

"But my life hasn't been that different. I think we all go through tough childhoods and hard times no matter what you deal with, whether it's money or not," the 26-year-old US actor-singer told M.

And Diana Ross the superstar is very different from Diana Ross the mum, according to him.

"My mum is mum and now when I look back, for her to juggle both those lives is really incredible," he said.

"I remember when the Concorde (a supersonic passenger jet) was around and she would fly on it to London and do a show and then fly back the same night and take us to school in the morning.

"So we never really felt like she wasn't there. And she still cooks for us."

The best professional advice she has given him?

"She just said, 'Trust yourself. There's something great about what you have, and once you trust yourself and let that be that, it will be amazing'."

With his recent marriage to US singer Ashlee Simpson, what inspires Ross right now, not surprisingly, is love.

The couple, who started dating in 2013, are expecting their first child, a girl.

His new single, How To Live Alone featuring rapper T.I., is inspired by his 30-year-old wife. His wife and mother make cameos in the music video.

"I don't think a lot of young artists my age are talking about that. They talk about going out and meeting as many girls as possible or staying out all night, drinking and partying.

"I would not be inspired to write something that isn't where I am at, and I am in such a good place and I want to give that place to other people."

Ross was in high school when he started his acting career, appearing in films like ATL, Life Support and Pride and the TV series 90210.

Surprisingly, singing came later.

"I think a lot of times when you are young, you don't really have a story to tell. It's not the right time to actually be singing and showing the world yourself.

"So it was good that movies started first."

HUNGER GAMES ROLE

His most high-profile role to date is Messalla, who was part of the TV crew that tags along with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), in 2014's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.

Ross will reprise the role for Part 2, opening here on Nov 19.

"For the next Mockingjay, there's a lot of cool action and we had to get fit. We were in trenches in water, with weapons above our heads," he said.

But from the way he gushes about his personal life, Ross' most important role seems to be that of doting husband and father-to-be.

His wedding last August, planned by his 71-year-old mother, and held at her estate in Connecticut, was a grand affair.

He recalled: "She told me she wasn't going to sing and she was like, 'Stop telling people I might sing. I am marrying you guys, but that's it.'

"And then while the party was happening, all of a sudden I could hear the music change to (her song) Endless Love and then I just heard her voice and it was crazy and it was amazing and I wasn't expecting it."

Ross and Simpson's honeymoon was in Bali - where they will spend their first anniversary too - and there was a special reason to pick that destination.

"We were supposed to go see my dad, before he passed away (in a climbing accident in 2004), in Bali.

"So that was why I chose to go there after the wedding because it was a place he loved."

Ross has had some practice being a father to Bronx, Simpson's seven-year-old son with her ex-husband Pete Wentz, the bassist of US rock band Fall Out Boy.

But he is eagerly anticipating the arrival of his daughter.

"I want to see her face. I keep having dreams of what she looks like.

"I know that just like my mum did with us - she put us first - I am going to put her first."

Daphne to the fore as Singapore dominate women's singles

Singapore women rule bowling singles event at Orchid Country Club

SUPER FINISH: Daphne Tan hit a solid final game score of 247 to overcome teammate Jazreel Tan for the gold medal. 


She described her performance like a schizophrenic "stock market".

And when Singapore's Daphne Tan went on a bull run, she was unstoppable, romping to the SEA Games women's singles bowling gold at the Orchid Country Club last night. She recorded a six-game total of 1,368 pinfalls.

She put together 10 strikes in a row after an opening spare and finished with a nine for an opening round of 289, the highest game of the day.

While she flirted with scores either side of 200 in her next four games, Tan turned on the style in the last game, starting and ending with four-baggers for a 247.

"I'm really happy because I really wanted this gold," said the 24-year-old, whose only other singles title was at the 2013 Asian Indoor Games.

"The good start obviously helped. I didn't pay attention to the other bowlers' scores. They are all very strong competitors, so I just focused on my tempo and took things from there."

SECOND SWEEP

For the second time at this SEA Games - after the women's 10m air rifle singles success - Team Singapore finished one-two-three again as the female keglers lived up to their billing as a blue-chip team, giving the bubbly 200-strong crowd lots to cheer about.

Jazreel Tan, the most bemedalled athlete at the Asian Games last year (one gold, two silvers, one bronze), gave as good as she got, taking the lead after the fourth game, and leading by seven pinfalls going into the final game.

The 25-year-old was undone by two open frames in the last game, however, and had to be content with a turkey finish and a final round of 185 en route to a total of 1,313 pinfalls and the silver medal.

She said: "I'm pretty satisfied with my performance today.

"I didn't make many mistakes until I missed the spare in the final game.

"I'm sad not to have won the gold, but I'm also happy because my teammate and a fellow Singaporean did."

Daphne's sister Cherie finished third with 1,294 pinfalls but, because SEA Games diplomatic rules state each country cannot win three medals in a single event, she had to give up the bronze to Malaysia's Esther Cheah.

Singapore filled up five of the top six positions, with Shayna Ng fifth (1,288), New Hui Fen sixth (1,278) and Bernice Lim 10th (1,245).

Malaysia's Rafiq crowns Games debut with singles gold

“I didn’t keep track of the scores. But my coach told me a spare in my final frame would be enough, and that’s what I did.” - Rafiq Ismail (above)

The strikes deserted him, the 200-strong partisan home crowd at the Orchid Country Club were cheering on their favourite, who was next to him, and it was all getting too much for 18-year-old Malaysian bowler Rafiq Ismail.

Rafiq, who was making his SEA Games debut, bowled a 192, going under 200 pinfalls for the first time in his fifth and penultimate game.

His 48-point lead duly shrunk to just 20, as 19-year-old Singaporean Javier Tan got hot with a 246.

Malaysia's team psychologist was called in, his coach reassured him that another game of 200 or more would be enough to win, and this time, crucially, Rafiq and Tan were well away from each other.

Despite recording his worst round of the day with a 189 for a six-game total of 1,308 pinfalls, Rafiq survived a late surge by Thailand's Annop Arromsaranon - he fell short by only three pinfalls to take silver - and collected his first SEA Games gold medal.

FALTER

Tan couldn't string his strikes together and was hampered by a 4-6 split in his ninth frame, managing only a 185, and ultimately had to settle for bronze.

Rafiq, who picked up bowling as a four-year-old because his father runs a cafe at a bowling alley in Ampang, said: "I was really affected by the Singaporean supporters because I was next to Javier in the fifth game and they were cheering his every shot.

"Luckily, in the last game, we didn't bowl together and I could focus more.

"I didn't keep track of the scores. But my coach told me a spare in my final frame would be enough, and that's what I did."

In March, the new prince of South-east Asian bowling won four golds at the Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships, and he represents a new wave of young keglers from the Malaysian conveyor belt of talent.

Like many others, Rafiq dedicated his win to the victims of the Sabah earthquake, and said: "I feel very sad to hear about the news and my heart goes out to the families of those affected.

"I pray that God will help them recover from this."

Tan was also satisfied with the bronze in a strong 41-man field.

"I guessed I was in contention after the 246, but I just took it one shot at a time," he said.

"I hit a good shot on the ninth but suffered a split. I don't think it played in my head because... while I would like to win gold, thinking about it wouldn't have helped.

"The crowd was electric, and it's a great feeling to win a medal after all the preparation we had."

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