All the golds were won in canoeing at Cipule Lake in West Java about 100km from the capital city.
Wichan Jaitieng grabbed Thailand’s first gold of the Games in the men’s kayak (K1) 1,000m in 3: 55.590min.
Thailand’s second gold came in the men’s kayak (K2) doubles 1,000m Piyaphan Phaophat and Nathaworn Waenphrom crossing the line in 3:28.940min.
The third title belonged to Piyaphan Phaophat, Nathaworn Waenphrom, Kasemsit Borriboonwasin and Chatcharit Bunmuen who finished with a flourish in 3:09.680min in the men’s team kayak (K4) 1,000m.
Thailand also picked up one bronze medal in the men’s doubles 1,000m canoe (C2) from Thammarat Phaophandee and Phanudet Phetmikha who timed 4:08.840m.
“I am very happy to win gold because I only got bronze four years ago in Nakhon Ratchasima and there was no canoeing in the Laos Games two years ago,” said a delighted Wichan of Chiang Mai.
“I hope my win helps inspire my compatriots.”
Parat Rattanachaiphan, deputy secretary-general of the Rowing Association of Thailand, said his team should hopefully win at least two more golds in the women’s doubles kayak 500m and men’s doubles kayak 200m.
Indonesia’s Eka Octarorianus claimed a brace – in the men’s 1,000m sprint canoe single and doubles yesterday.
Boxers target six golds
In Bangkok, Manus Boonjumnong, Thailand’s most successful Olympian, leads the Thai boxing team in their bid to win six gold medals.
Manus, who won gold at the 2004 Olympics and silver at the 2008 Beijing Games in the 64kg division, will fight in the 75kg class in Indonesia.
He retired after the 2008 Olympics but decided to make a comeback three months ago. Although he will fight in a heavier division after a long break, he is confident that he will become successful at the SEA Games.
“I think I can win the gold medal,” said the 31-year-old who claimed SEA Games golds in 2003 and 2007.
“But I am a bit worried about the judging.”
Dubbed a playboy for his lifestyle, Manus seems to be a changed man after shedding about 10kg in three months for the SEA Games.
He intends to use the Indonesia Games to see if he is good enough to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games.
His boxing skill is still there so Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, president of the Thailand Boxing Association, has given him a chance to prove himself.
“I want to see him represent the country again,” said Boonlert.
But Boonlert said Manus would be picked to fight in the final qualifying round for the Olympics in May only if he has an impressive performance at the SEA Games.
The other men’s boxers in Indonesia are Kaew Pongprayoon (49kg), Chatchai Butdee (52kg), Worapoj Petchkoom (56kg), Saylom Ardee (60kg) and Apichet Saensit (69kg).
Thailand have four women’s boxers – Sopida Satumrum (51kg), Peamwilai Laopeam (54kg), Tassamalee Thongjan (57kg) and Sudaporn Seedondee (60).
With 10 fighters, Thailand target six golds – four in the men’s event and two in the women’s competition.
“I do not know much about our opponents but I am sure that we can meet the target,” said coach Thong Thaweekhoon who left for Indonesia with the team yesterday. “Our team is quite strong,” he said.
At the 2009 SEA Games in Laos, the Thai boxing team took home seven golds.
Writer: Tor Chttinand and Kittipong Thongsombat