Thai sharpshooters come up tops
Thailand stamped their authority in shooting yesterday, winning both gold medals on offer at the National Shooting Centre at Choa Chu Kang.
That took their tally to 12 gold medals, well ahead of hosts Singapore in second spot with three wins.
Carrying on the momentum after winning the women's 50m rifle prone team gold on Tuesday, the Thais were too strong in the women's 50m rifle prone final.
Ratchadaporn Plengsaengthong, Thanyalak Chotphibunsin and Sununta Majchacheep were all in the team that won gold 24 hours earlier and must have known there would be the possibility they would be challenging each other in the individual battle.
So it proved.
Each athlete had 50 minutes to fire 60 shots, and Ratchadaporn (right), who finished her session last, bagged gold with 623.6 points.
The crowd let out a collective groan for 2013 silver medallist Thanyalak, who finished her round the earliest, with some 19 minutes left, but once again finished runner-up after posting 623.5.
Teammate Sununta (622.6) finished third but, as each NOC is only allowed two medallists for an event, as per SEA Games rules, Singapore's star shooter Jasmine Ser (621.8) moved up from fourth to pocket the bronze medal.
Thanyalak, 24, insisted there was no rivalry between the Thai shooters.
"I'm excited over how we did and I am happy and my friend got a gold medal," she said.
"I want a gold, but I was a little bit (off)."
Ratchadaporn collected a bronze in Myanmar in 2013 and the 26-year-old said: "I am surprised, I didn't think I was winning. I thought that I was just No. 2 or No. 3. This is really a big surprise."
Ser was happy enough with her position.
"I think I did great. Prone is not my discipline so I spent most of my time training for the two other events," Ser said, referring to the 10m air rifle, where she clinched silver (behind teammate Tessa Neo), and the 50m rifle 3 positions, which will take place tomorrow.
"Team Thailand got the gold and they really put in a lot of effort and deserve it. They're really strong in this discipline, especially in Asia. They're a powerhouse.
"So, for me to shoot my score almost equal to them, that alone is great enough."
Thailand continued their dominant streak in the 50m rifle prone men's event. Supalerk Wijan (206.3) and Attapon Uea-aree (205.7) - from Tuesday's gold-winning team - bagged the individual gold and silver medals, respectively.
Malaysia's Mohd Hadafi Jaafar finished with 183.6.
Singapore's SEA Games debutant Lim Zhong Xian qualified for the finals, but finished seventh on 99.4.