HANOI - Teen speed demon Puripol Boonson capped his maiden SEA Games with a sprint hat-trick on Wednesday (May 18) to etch his name in history alongside Thai greats from decades past.
Puripol, who turned 16 only in January, won the race in 10.44sec. Compatriot Soraoat Dapbang took the silver in 10.55sec, while Singapore’s Games debutant Marc Louis was third in 10.56sec.
On Saturday, Puripol had won the 200m in a Games record of 20.37sec and two days later helped the 4x100m relay team to a win in another Games record of 38.58sec.
A strong headwind, however, played a part in denying him a third meet record.
Nevertheless, his triumph puts him alongside the likes of Thai triple sprint champions Anat Ratanapol (1971, ’73 and ’75), Suchart Chairsuvaparb (’79), Reanchai Seehawong (’95, ’99 and ’01) and Jirapong Meenapra (’13).
“Before the competition I was under a lot of pressure... but I made it and I’m very glad,” he told reporters, according to AFP.
“My target for this year is that I will try to consistently improve my record and break my own record.”
For Louis, the bronze was a satisfying end to his first SEA Games.
The 19-year-old made the local athletics scene sit up and take notice with a blistering 10.39sec effort in the 100m last December, which was the third-best time by any Singaporean and just 0.02sec off the national mark set by U.K. Shyam in 2001.
The time stirred talk of whether Louis could set a new national record in Hanoi, and win a gold medal that has eluded the Republic since C. Kunalan’s win in 1969 in Rangoon, now known as Yangon.
But while the Singapore youngster burst out of the blocks well, Puripol powered ahead of his rivals in the second half of the race.
“Before I started, I was praying for the wind to go away,” said Louis with a smirk.
“And out of the blocks I was leading, so I was telling myself not to panic.
“After I crossed the line, I wasn’t sure I got it (a medal) but... (now) I feel relieved. I think I could have run a better race but I’m happy with the result.”