SEA Games hosts value popularity over winning medals
HANOI—World champion gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo may have won five gold medals, but it’s the hometown pick that sits atop the race for the 31st World Games’ most favorite athlete Southeast Asia that end on Monday.
Football remains the most popular sport in Vietnam that local sports fans seek for their own Hung Dung Do as the most popular among the athletes of the Games that the host leads while running.
Yulo, owner of gold medals in one of the most disciplined sports of gymnastics, ranked eighth among the top 10 contenders.
Voting takes place online at the official website of the 31st SEA Games which, with three days remaining in the Games, fell short of the expectations of thousands of journalists covering the biennial multi-sport competitions which were postponed from last November due of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vietnam remained unbeaten in men’s football – SEA Games competitions are limited to players under the age of 23 but teams are allowed to field two veteran athletes – with their 1-0 win over regional powerhouse Thailand in the preliminaries of Thursday night, already sending the Vietnamese into a frenzied street party on their motorbikes around the capital.
Hung has an impressive 2,676 votes which reflects Vietnam’s performance in the medal race – running away with 158 gold medals for almost a third of the 523 events scheduled in these Games.
Yulo, on the other hand, got a measly 83 votes despite wins in the men’s individual all-around, floor, rings, vault and high bar and silver medals in the men’s team and parallel bars.
“It’s a race of popularity and not exactly about the number of gold medals an athlete has won at the SEA Games,” said Malyn Bamba, head of the public communications office of the Philippine Sports Commission, who said. financed the preparation and participation of the Philippines team in the SEA. Games.
“Of course Vietnamese athletes have the advantage because they are playing on their home turf,” Bamba said. “Also, the awards as most popular athletes weren’t really publicized.”
Five other Vietnamese made it into the top 10 in the men’s race—No. #3 Vy Throung Thao (basketball, 625 votes), #5 Thien Linh Nguyen (football, 106 votes), #7 Huy Huang Nguyen (swimming with four gold medals, 85 votes), #9 Anh Christian Juzang (basketball, 75 votes) and No. 10 Than Thuy Tran Thi (volleyball, 72 votes).
Bronze medalist Pramudya Kusumawardana Riyanto appeared to have nearly the entire Indonesian delegation voting for him with 1,076 votes for the No. 2 spot, while badminton teammate and also bronze medalist Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob was sixth on Friday after- noon.
Felisberto de Deus of East Timor, who won silver in the men’s 500 meters and 1,500 meters in athletics, could be considered a prankster in 4th place with 191 votes.
Another race for the most popular soccer player in the games was organized by the hosts and as expected, Hung led the field with four other Vietnamese soccer players, male or female, in the top 10. Five Indonesians also made the list . Jun Lomibao
Image credits: Nonie Reyes