The former King came out of retirement — and was promptly crowned the king of the discus once again at the South-east Asian Games today.
Yes, despite retiring from his beloved sport two and a half years ago, and sitting out the 2007 SEA Games in Korat, James Wong showed this afternoon that the passing of time has not diminished his ability to outclass the region’s best discus throwers whenever they gather every two years.
The 40-year-old Nanyang Polytechnic lecturer’s latest victory means that he has now won the SEA Games gold for the eighth time. He won his first gold back in 1993 and successfully defended it until his retirement after the 2005 Manila Games.
In fact, Wong, who only resumed training in February, practically won the event yesterday with his first throw of 52.18m.
The distance remained unsurpassed by the rest of the seven-strong field although Thailand’s K. Numsomboon came close with his sixth and final throw of 52.15m.
But by then, Wong had already thrown the discus further twice. He had registered 52.53m on his fourth throw before unleashing his best effort of the day — 53.60m — with his final attempt.
Truth be told, it is clear that time is slowly winning its battle against Wong.
After all, his winning distance was six metres lower than his national record of 59.87m set 10 years ago in 1999.
But that will not matter to Wong. After all, he had achieved two of his objectives in Laos: to reclaim the gold medal, and to ensure that Singapore athletics would come back from Vientiane with at least one title.
Now the question remains: Will Wong continue to compete in the SEA Games in 2011. From the looks of things, he may have to in order to stretch Singapore’s dominance in the event until the young but impressive Scott Wong finally comes of age.
The 20-year-old national serviceman may have finished a commendable fourth but his best distance of 44.95m was still eight metres shy of the bronze-medal winning distance of 52.02m set by Thailand’s Wansawang Sawasdee.
The Singapore Sports Fan would like to congratulate Wong on his great performance and looks forward to seeing him in action again in two years’ time.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan