Richard good as gold in
50m freestyle

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (JP): Veteran Richard Sam Bera remained Indonesia's hero in the pool on Wednesday by winning the 50 meters freestyle at Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex.

He contributed the country's lone gold from a haul which also included two silvers and three bronzes, the fourth highest number of medals on the day. Thailand was tops with 11 golds, nine silvers and five bronzes, followed by Malaysia and Singapore.

Richard, 27, won in 23.49 seconds, edging compatriot Wisnu Wardhana (23.71) and Singapore's Leslie Kwok Ying-wah (23.79).

Richard was disappointed by his failure to break the 10-year-old Games record of 23.27.

""I was a little nervous. I was not too fit this morning because I only had a few hours of rest."" He took part in the 4x100m freestyle event on Tuesday night and competed in the heats at 8 a.m. local time.

Indonesia's M. Akbar Nasution earned the bronze in the men's 200m breaststroke, behind gold medalist Elvin Chia and Thai Ratapong Sirisanont. ""Rattapong has beaten me many times. I didn't expect to beat him. I just wanted to break my personal best. But Rattapong told me 'good job' after the race,"" Chia said.

Games first-timer Akbar, 16, said he was pleased with his bronze and hoped to compete in the Olympics.

Another Malaysian Dieung AK Manggang claimed the gold in the 1,500m freestyle in 15:57.47. Filipino Juan Carlo Piccio was second (15:57.85), followed by Indonesian Steven Chandra (16:02.63).

Trailing at the final turn, Manggang edged Piccio in the stretch.

""I didn't expect to win. The other swimmers tried to beat me by coming from behind. I kept telling myself that my legs were stronger and I could kick faster than them.""

Thailand's Pilin Tachakittiranan seems destined to take over the title ofswimming queen from Singapore's Joscelin Yeo.

In a remarkable debut, Tachakittiranan collected six golds in the 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 4x100m relay freestyle, 4x200m relay freestyle, 200m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay. She also won a silver in the 100m freestyle.

Yeo earned four golds in the 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly stroke, 200m individual medley and a bronze in the 400m freestyle.

Yeo cited a nagging elbow injury in her decision to scratch from three events on Wednesday.

""She injured her right elbow after competing in the 100m butterfly on Tuesday,"" said coach David Lim. ""We decided to give her a two-day rest. We'll wait and see about her condition in the next 24 hours, and hopefully she'll be all right and can compete on Friday.""

Tachakittiranan, 16, will compete in the 50m freestyle and 200m butterflyon Friday.

""I have not set any medal target for the year's event. I'll try my best. I'm not so sure about my chances in the butterfly event because I think my compatriot Praphalsai Minpraphal could be a tough rival.""

Indonesia's divers Husaini Noor and Muhammad Nasrullah won silver and bronze respectively in the men's 10m platform diving event. Malaysian Yeoh Ken Nee took the gold.

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