SEA Games: Classy Thais capture football gold

The Singapore women's water polo team, who were the defending champions, suffered a shock 4-5 loss to Thailand yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
The Singapore women's water polo team, who were the defending champions, suffered a shock 4-5 loss to Thailand yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
The Singapore women's water polo team, who were the defending champions, suffered a shock 4-5 loss to Thailand yesterday. Thailand's Chananan Pombubpha celebrating after scoring his side's second goal against Myanmar in the football final at the Nati
The Singapore women's water polo team, who were the defending champions, suffered a shock 4-5 loss to Thailand yesterday. Thailand's Chananan Pombubpha celebrating after scoring his side's second goal against Myanmar in the football final at the National Stadium last night. His team eventually swept aside Myanmar 3-0 to claim the coveted football gold.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

THAILAND captured arguably the most coveted gold medal at the SEA Games when its U-23 side swept aside Myanmar 3-0 to claim the football title.

More than 30,000 fans witnessed Thai mastery at the National Stadium as the defending champions oozed class in a dominating performance to win their 14th title out of 28 editions of the biennial sporting extravaganza.

The gold, which brought Thailand's gold count to 93, confirmed the kingdom's position as the best-performing nation at the Singapore SEA Games.

Only seven medals are on offer today - in badminton, volleyball and water polo - ahead of this evening's closing ceremony at the National Stadium,

Singapore is also assured of its spot at No. 2. The hosts, on 83 golds, have an insurmountable lead over Vietnam on 73 golds and will finish as the second-best nation at the Games for the first time since the 1975 Bangkok edition. The Republic's lone gold yesterday was delivered by squash jumbo doubles pair Marcus Phua and Vivian Rhamanan at Tanglin Club, ending a 20-year gold medal drought for the sport.

In the first-ever jumbo doubles event at the Games, the pair beat Indonesia's Ade Furkon and Sandi A. Perdana 11-3, 11-8.

The celebratory atmosphere among the full-house crowd at Tanglin Club after the momentous win was a stark contrast to the tears that flowed at the OCBC Aquatic Centre just hours before.

Favourites and defending champions Singapore were stunned by Thailand in the women's water polo team final, losing 4-5.

ngxtc@sph.com.sg