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Southeast Asian Games End With First Philippine Win


Southeast Asia's version of the Olympics ended Monday with music, dancing, fireworks, and warm words from the Philippines, which hosted the event. The Philippines also won the games, winning more medals than any other nation, which prompted some skeptical comment during the competition.

The Philippines won 289 medals, including 113 golds, the first time it came in first overall since it joined the games almost 30 years ago.

Thailand was second, with 283 medals and 87 golds, and its prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, suggested during the games that the Philippine judging might have been something less than fair.

He did not directly accuse the Philippines of favoring its own athletes, but his remarks did prompt President Gloria Arroyo to order an investigation. The investigators decided that the judging had been conducted fairly.

Vietnam, the winner when it hosted the games in 2003, was third this time with 70 gold medals.

Despite the minor controversy, the games ended on a warm note, as President Arroyo thanked everyone for their efforts in making the event a success.

"The sportsmanship shown by all the competitors marked the collective excellence of ASEAN as a solid region sharing a proud heritage," said President Arroyo. "On behalf of a proud and jubilant people, I salute the athletes and thank the sports associations."

Athletes from the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations, joined by East Timor, took part in the games, which were held on three of the Philippines' more than 7,100 islands.

Thailand will host the next games, scheduled for 2007.

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