HOST nation Malaysia have pulled away from their rivals at the top of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games medal tally following a thrilling second day on which five swimming records were broken.
Malaysia already have 24 gold medals, compared with the 13 won by their closest pursuers in the medal table, Singapore.
Vietnam (eight), Indonesia (seven) and Thailand (six) occupy positions three to five on the medal chart, but the table is set to change dramatically as athletics and karate get underway on Tuesday.
Day two of official competition, though, belonged to the swimmers.
Malaysia’s Welson Sim, Indonesia’s Gede Simon Sudartawa, Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Anh Vien and Singapore’s Joseph Schooling – one of the biggest stars at the Games – all broke SEA Games records in the pool.
There was also a new Games record for the Singapore women’s 4×100 m freestyle relay team.
Welson led from start to finish in the 400m freestyle to secure Malaysia’s first swimming gold of the Games in some style.
The 20-year-old knocked more than three seconds off his own Games record to win in a time of 3:50.26.
Indonesian Sudartawa won his seventh SEA Games gold medal, edging out Singapore’s Quah Zheng Wen to win the 50m backstroke in a record-breaking time of 25.20.
And Schooling, an Olympic champion last year and nine-times SEA Games gold medallist in home water last time, joined the party with a record-breaking 23.06 to win the 50m fly.
While Schooling is very much a known quantity, compatriot Quah Jing Wen announced herself as one of the breakthrough stars of the Games by winning the women’s 200m fly in a national record time of 2:12.03.
The 16-year-old was more than 2.5 seconds clear of Vietnam’s Le Thi My Thao, and said: “It’s hard to describe how I’m feeling. When I touched the wall and saw I won and had a new personal best, it was just elation.”
That was her first SEA Games gold medal – but her second was not far behind, as she anchored Singapore’s 4×100 m freestyle relay team home in a new Games record time of 3:44.38.
Away from the pool, medal table leaders Malaysia secured further golds in the recurve archery (men’s and women’s teams), men’s doubles bowling, cycling (men’s criterium), shooting (men’s double trap), gymnastics (women’s artistic team) and wushu (men’s Qiang Shu).
The action gathers pace on Tuesday, with 45 gold medals at stake across 14 sports, including eight in athletics at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Medal table after day two
- Malaysia (24 gold, 19 silver, 15 bronze)
- Singapore (13 gold, 13 silver, 11 bronze)
- Vietnam (8 gold, 5 silver, 9 bronze)
- Indonesia (7 gold, 10 silver, 15 bronze)
- Thailand (6 gold, 8 silver, 10 bronze)
- Philippines (3 gold, 6 silver, 6 bronze)
- Myanmar (3 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)
- Laos (0 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
- Brunei (0 gold, 0 silver, 4 bronze)
- Cambodia (0 gold, 0 silver, 3 bronze)
- Timor-Leste (no medals)