Moments from five SEA games: Marriage proposal to the ‘magician’

Efren Bata Reyes Hanoi SEA Games

Efren Reyes of the Philippines competes against Vietnam’s Tran Quet Chien in the men’s billiard 3-cushion event during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at Ha Dong Gymnasium in Hanoi on May 19, 2022.

The 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, ended on Monday after nearly two weeks of records, hugs and marriage proposals.

AFP Sport picks five memorable moments:

Rock-star treatment

Efren Reyes of the Philippines was given the kind of reception that is usually associated with rock stars more than older pool players.

With more than 100 professional titles to his name in a career spanning more than four decades, the 67-year-old made young fans eager to take a closer look and take a selfie whenever they saw their hero.

Despite an early return from an event, hundreds of fans still chased the veteran player, known as the ‘magician’, as he left the building under heavy security. “I love you!” He shook hands regularly from a bus and screamed.

He left the Games with a bronze.

Faster than Bolt

Thai teenager Puripol Bunson jumped into the men’s 100m and 200m to underline her status as a potential global sprint star of the future.

The 16-year-old twice broke the Games 200-meter record, winning his first gold at 20.37 seconds in his best time, and the fastest man (or teenager) in Southeast Asia ran the best 10.19 seconds in his 100-meter career.

According to The Straits Times, Uk Shyam, a retired sprinter who holds Singapore’s 100m national record, said: “I have never seen anyone from Asia walk like that and at that age.”

“Just think: his time meant he was faster than Usain Bolt when Bolt was 16.”

Golden timing

A game that is not usually associated with romance, a married Vietnamese chess couple won gold in their category at about the same time.

Playing for the men’s and women’s quick titles, Nguyen Engok Trung Son and his wife Pham Le Thao Nguyen won gold in their chess match just minutes apart.

“We were always together in training. Together we support and share the difficulties, “said Trung Son, 32, the youngest Vietnamese known as the Grandmaster.

“Now is the time for us to celebrate together.”

Stadium offer

There was also something in the air at Hanoi’s My Day Stadium.

A few days after a visitor knelt down at the opening ceremony and asked his partner’s hand for the wedding – he said yes – Vietnamese long jumper Nguyen Tien Trong did the same with his partner Nguyen Thi Phuong Trin.

The Sepak Takraw contestant also said yes to caping for several days for Trang – before he won gold for the hosts.

Football frenzy

Thousands of Vietnamese took to the streets across the country after the Games hosted Thailand 1-0 in the men’s soccer gold.

Forward Nam Man Dong was the hero of the 83rd minute header that shot an arrow into the top corner and sent 40,000 spectators into a frenzy.

Afterwards, fans waved the Vietnamese flag and blew their horns in Hanoi and beyond, to the tide of national pride.

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