Undefeated since 1995, Thailand retains Women's Volleyball gold medal for 13th consecutive SEA Games
Pimpichaya Kokram of Thailand reacts during the gold medal match against Vietnam. PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG
Halong Bay, Vietnam - Thailand women's indoor volleyball team have been crowed queens of Southeast Asia for a thirteenth consecutive time, after defeating hosts Vietnam 25-20, 25-14, 25-14 at the Đại Yên Sports Arena.
The Thais' golden run stretches all the way back to the 1995 SEA Games in Chiang Mai, when they hosted the regional Games on home soil.
Đinh Thị Thuý of Vietnam leaps high to spike the ball in the women's volleyball final against Thailand. PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG
Played in a round-robin format, the women's indoor volleyball competition comprised five competing nations, with the top two countries qualifying for the gold medal match, and the third and fourth making the bronze medal play-offs.
Entering the final as group winners, the Thais boasted a perfect winning record from the group stages winning all four matches, defeating the Philippines 3-0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-14), Indonesia 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-14), Vietnam 3-1 (25-18, 14-25, 25-17, 25-23), and Malaysia 3-0 (25-11, 25-18, 25-12).
Air time! Pimpichaya Kokram of Thailand spikes to win a point for Thailand in the gold medal match against Vietnam. PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG
Vietnam, despite being hosts to the SEA Games and the only team to take a set off the Thais in the group stage, knew they faced an uphill battle from the start.
In front of a packed stadium that was raring to go, the home crowd got behind the Vietnam women’s volleyball team.
Đinh Thị Thuý could not prevent her team Vietnam from defeat against the Thais. PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG
It definitely gave the Vietnamese volleyball ladies a great boost of morale and they played hard against Thailand, losing only marginally in the first set, 20-25.
Quick to take the first few points in the second set, Vietnam looked promising, until Thailand stepped up their game and reeled them in.
Thailand celebrates winning the gold medal for a 13th consecutive edition of the SEA Games. PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG
Aggressive, swift and precise, Thailand hardly faltered and you could feel the confidence of the Vietnam team fade and the second set closed at 14-25 to Thailand.
The crowd seemed to have lost its enthusiasm at a point when Vietnam needed it most and Thailand took the third set by storm and opened up a big lead very early. Vietnam could only play catch-up as they tried their best to chase the gap, but Thailand proved too strong a force today and Vietnam lost the third set 14-25, hence taking home the silver.
The Pilipinas fell to Indonesia in the bronze medal match. PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG
Indonesia stun Pilipinas in Bronze Medal Play-off
2019 SEA Games silver medallists Team Philippines shockingly missed out on a podium finish, after being defeated by Indonesia in the bronze medal play-off 1-3.
Despite clawing back a set after going 2-0 down, the Pilipinas were resigned to returning home without a medal for the first time since 2015, having won bronze at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games and silver at the last edition of the Games hosted in the Philippines.
Alyja Daphne Santiago of the Philippines in action during the women's bronze medal match. PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG
The result was a repeat of the scoreline when both sides met in the group stages on 17 May, as Indonesia came out 3-1 winners (25-23, 21-25, 25-15, 25-20).
Despite starting their campaign brightly with a 3-0 win against Malaysia, the Pilipinas will be disappointed with their outing in Vietnam, with subsequent defeats against Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam in before the bronze medal match.
The Pilipinas celebrate scoring a point. The 2019 silver medalists did not finish on the podium in this edition of the SEA Games. PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG
Meanwhile in Men's Indoor Volleyball, host nation Vietnam were also beaten in the men's final, losing 25-22, 25-18, 25-15 to Indonesia, who successfully defended the gold medal they won in 2019.
For Vietnam, winning a silver medal is the best performance since 2015, when they also took silver a the 28th SEA Games in Singapore. They took bronze in 2017 at the Kuala Lumpur Games.
For more 31st SEA Games indoor volleyball photos taken by SportPlus.sg, visit our photo gallery here.