Albert's saving grace brings
gold in the pool


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (JP): Albert Christiadi Sutanto saved face for Indonesia's swimming team in the Southeast Asian Games on Friday, striking gold in the 200 meters butterfly in a record-setting time.

On the last day of the swimming competition, Albert clocked two minutes and 2.06 seconds to beat the region's stalwarts Malaysian Alex Lim Keng-liat and Ratapong Sirisanont of Thailand. It was his second individual goldmedal at this year's Games after his victory in the 100m butterfly on Tuesday.

Albert, Alex and Ratapong finished inside the old mark of 2:02.90, which was set by Lim. He was second in 2:02.35 and Ratapong touched the wall in 2:02.71.

Albert's time was under the 2:05:00 qualifying time for the 2000 Olympic Games.

The victory added some respectability to Indonesia's medal tally in the pool of six golds, four silvers and 12 bronzes. Thailand reigned supreme with 13 golds, 11 silvers and seven bronzes, followed by Malaysia with 11 golds, nine silvers and five bronzes. Singapore was third with seven golds,10 silvers and 10 bronzes.

A satisfied Albert expressed said the win silenced any doubts about his ability. The Indonesian Swimming Federation (PRSI) focused on veteran Richard Sam Bera to win gold medals for the national team.

""I was confident I could win today's event after Tuesday's victory. I left Lim far behind on the first lap but in the last lap I was getting tired. I kept moving while I was praying for God's help,"" he said.

Albert said the Games would be memorable for him because it was the firsthe won golds in the individual event since 1991.

""I promise to come back in the next SEA Games,"" he said.

Thailand's young hope Pilin Tachakittiranan crowned herself the new Gamesqueen of the pool despite winning only two silvers in the women's 50m freestyle and 200m butterfly on Friday.

Longtime Games winner Joscelin Yeo of Singapore, who cited injury in withdrawing from two races on Wednesday, won the 50m freestyle gold in a new meet record of 26.23 seconds to beat her own old mark and Pilin (27.01). Moe Thu Aung was third in 27.41.

Yeo completed a double of golds on the night with victory in the 400m individual medley, clocking a record-breaking time of 4:51.87. She smashed the old record of 4:53.30 set by Thai Ravee Intporn-Udom.

Malaysian Sia Wai Yen was second in 4:52.52 while Thailand's Duangruthai Thanmmaphanya was third in 5:04.70.

Singapore's golden girl now has six SEA Games records under her belt, in addition to her six gold medals.

In the 200m butterfly, Tachakittiranan clocked 2:17.01 behind compatriot Praphalsai Minpraphal who finished first in a time of 2:14.54. Minpraphal broke the old SEA Games record of 2:15.17 set by Indonesian Catherine Surya, who is absent from the Games.

""I'm very proud of getting six golds and three silvers in this SEA Games,and also setting new records in the 400m and 800m freestyle events. It beats the target of four golds set by the Thai swimming association. I thank my mother for her encouragement,"" 16-year-old Pilin said.

She said Yeo could be a tough rival for her in future. ""She's good and isa talented swimmer. I think she might be my archrival in the next SEA Games.

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