Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reputation at stake

I stuck my neck out early this morning on international radio to say that Vietnam would beat Thailand in their gold medal haul from the SEA Games in Laos. Last night both countries were neck and neck in their gold medal collection with 61 golds apiece and today is the last full day of competition, with quite a few finals to be competed for. When I say I stuck my neck out, no-one really cares whether I'm right or not but I did put my reputation (do I have a reputation?) on the line for the Radio Australia listeners just before 8am this morning and I'm sure the breakfast news team will be ramming it down my throat if I'm wrong. In a nice way of course. There's a big push by Vietnam to knock Thailand off their SEA Games pedestal this time around, and the Thais are feeling the pressure. Their football team succumbed early on and Vietnam are almost guaranteed to collect the football gold in today's final against Malaysia. Though Thailand have won more medals in total, it's the golds that determine the table standings and it couldn't be any closer going into the final stretch. Great to see Laos collect 25 gold medals this time around, they picked up just five in 2007. The Games have certainly raised their athletes' performances to an all-time high. And congrats to the Cambodian team too. As it stands, we have 34 medals in total, including 3 golds, and that's a massive increase on our 2007 medal tally, despite far fewer individual competitions. Kudos to Radio Australia for giving the SEA Games some wider international recognition too. I've heard today from my pal Phalla that the Vietnamese are flooding even more people into Vientiane for the football final this afternoon. There's not a seat to be had on the flights coming from Saigon and Hanoi and the roads into Laos are packed with cars festooned in Vietnam flags and colours. There simply won't be enough seats in the stadium to accommodate the fanatical Vietnamese supporters.
On the disabled volleyball front, Cambodia have won their 3rd consecutive game, beating India with ease in the WOVD World Cup, after their first-ever win over Slovakia the night before. The Cambodian team, who are hell bent on winning the trophy for the 1st time, play twice today, meeting the favourites Germany at 6pm tonight at the Olympic Stadium, as well as Malaysia at 1.30pm. Oh, and the Slovakian captain who is probably the biggest cry-baby in world sport is Josef Mihlaco, who was yellow-carded in the match against Cambodia for his incessant whining and poor sportsmanship. I remember that he was exactly the same the last time the World Cup was held in Phnom Penh.

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