Fifteen-year-old swimmer Nguyen Huu Kim Son emerged as Vietnam’s biggest surprise during the sixth day of official competition at the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Friday as he won gold with an event’s record.
The teenage swimmer topped the men's 400m individual medley with a time of 4:22.12, smashing a 14-year-old record of the region’s biggest sporting competition.
The previous record of 4:22.20 was set in 2003 by Thailand’s Ratapong Sirisanont.
At this year’s SEA Games, Son already won the men’s 400m individual freestyle bronze medal.
“We had expected to see Son top the men’s 400m individual medley event, but his record breaking was beyond our expectation, given he is only 15 years old,” Dinh Viet Hung, general secretary of the Vietnam Swimming Federation, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Even Son was surprised by his own feat as he did not hide his overexcitement after touching the wall, knowing that he had won the gold medal.
The young swimmer said he was motivated by words from his teammate, star swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien.
“Vien told me that she could not believe that I have not secured any gold medal yet,” Son said.
Anh Vien herself added two more gold medals to her personal count on Friday, championing both the women’s 400m individual medley and 50m backstroke events.
The 21-year-old bagged eight gold medals in the previous SEA Games in Singapore, and is on track to break her own record in Malaysia this year, having secured a berth in the finals of the women’s 50m and 200m freestyle events on Saturday morning.
Besides gold medals by Son and Vien, Vietnam also snatched gold in the women’s 4x100m relay, long jump and women’s 5,000m during the sixth day of official competition on Friday.
Son’s is the 44th gold medal of Vietnam by the end of Friday, enabling the team to keep their second spot on the total medal count.