Laos eyes more golds at 25th SEA Games

Posted by samakomlao Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nobody can predict how many gold medals Lao athletes will win at this year's SEA Games on their home soil, but in the minds of supporters seeing Laos finish atop the medal tally would be a dream come true.

Laos has never topped the medal table at a SEA Games. However, Lao athletes have improved dramatically through tough national training camps and several big international contests over the last year.

Despite the improvements, finishing at the top of the medal tally will be a tough ask.

The games are a biennial sports competition for Southeast Asian nations which started in 1959 with the objectives of strengthening friendship, solidarity and understanding between countries in the region. The name of the event was changed from the SEAP Games into the SEA Games in 1977.

Laos did not attend the games from 1975 until 1989 when more than 20 Lao athletes competed in five events and a silver medal was won by the nation in boxing.

Two years later, Lao athletes attended the 16th SEA Games in Manila , the Philippines , but failed to win a medal.

At the 1993 games in Singapore , 41 Lao athletes competed in seven sports events and again a silver medal was won in boxing.

In 1995 the games were held in nearby Chiang Mai , Thailand , and Laos sent 104 athletes to compete in 11 sports events. The Lao team won a silver medal in traditional boat racing, a bronze in boxing and taekwondo and two bronze medals in athletics.

Two years later, Lao athletes flew to Jakarta , Indonesia for the 19th SEA Games where they won bronze medals in wushu, boxing, pancak silat and canoeing.

In Brunei Darussalam in 1999, Laos won its first ever SEA Games gold medal in men's taekwondo and added three bronze medals in boxing, athletics and women's taekwondo.

Lao athletes again won gold at the 21st SEA Games in Malaysia in 2001, this time in petanque, as well as a silver in boxing and bronze medals in wushu, judo and taekwondo.

In 2003 in Vietnam , Laos again won gold in petanque, as well as five silvers in petanque, boxing, shuttlecock and taekwondo. Lao athletes won 15 bronze medals in judo, boxing, shuttlecock, taekwondo, handball, wushu, wrestling, shooting and fin swimming.

In the 2005 SEA Games in the Philippines , Laos ' final tally included 3 gold, 4 silver and 12 bronze medals. Two of the gold medals came from the petanque event, while the third was won in the muay event (kick boxing).

The best ever haul by Lao athletes came at the last SEA Games in 2007 in Thailand . The team took home 5 gold, 7 silver and 32 bronze medals.

By Times Reporters

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