Singapore won two more individual golds in swimming this evening but in a surprise twist, star swimmer Quah Ting Wen, was not the recipient of either.
Instead, it was Singapore Sports School students Amanda Lim and Tao Li who delivered the goods in the 50m freestyle and 200m butterfly finals respectively.
Constantly in the shadow of Ting Wen, her more illustrious peer, 16-year-old Amanda finally emerged as a star in her own right this evening when she defeated Ting Wen in the 50m freestyle.
In a repeat of their clash in the same event at the Asian Youth Games in July, Amanda found herself neck-to-neck with Ting Wen in the first 25m.*
But this time, the Singapore Sports School student, who is coached by Peter Churchill, gradually pulled away from her arch-rival to touch home in a new SEA Games record time of 25.82sec.* The time was 0.31sec faster than the old record of 26.13sec. Ting Wen was second in 25,88sec.
However, Amanda’s time will not be a new national record as the time was slower than her national mark of 25.38sec which she had set in the semi-finals during the AYG.*
It was then Tao Li’s turn to shine. And the 19-year-old Singapore Sports School student was simply in a class of her own as she defeated Malaysia’s Khoo Cai Lin by four bodylengths in the 200m butterfly final. Her time of 2:13.489 also broke the SEA Games record of 2:14.11.
Tao Li’s gold was her fourth individual title of the SEA Games – she had also won the 100m and 200m backstroke and 100m butterfly before tonight’s final — and her fifth in total. She had also helped Singapore to win in the 4x100m medley relay.
Ting Wen, on the other hand, couldn’t end her Vientiane campaign on a golden note.
Looking visibly tired, the 17-year-old Raffles Institution (Junior College) student seemed to run out of steam in the 400m individual medley, her final event of the Games. She eventually finished second in 4min 56.32sec, more than a second behind Thailand’s Nattanan Jung-kra-jan, who won in 4:55.07. Koh Hui Yi clinched the bronze with her time of 4:56.73.
Nor could Singapore end the swimming competition with a sweep of all the relays. Despite their best efforts, the quartet of Rainer Ng, Ng Jia Hao, Clement Lim and Russell Ong could not win relay gold No. 6 in the men’s 4x100m medley relay They took the silver instead in 3:44.15, behind winners Indonesia, who clocked a new Games record of 3:41.72.
But there was at least a small consolation for the quartet – their time was a new national record, slicing four seconds off the 3:48.78 that they had set at the World Championships in Rome in August.
Meanwhile, our shooters continued their golden run by winning a sixth gold. The team of Gai Bin, Poh Lip Meng and Nigel Lim won the 50m pistol team event – their second team gold after the 10m air pistol team event – with a combined score of 1,646. Vietnam (1,618) and Thailand (1615) came in second and third respectively.
But there were tears on the football pitch as Singapore’s hopes of reaching the final of the SEA Games football competition ended with a 1-4 drubbing by Vietnam in the semi-finals.
Singapore took the lead in the 27th minute through striker Khairul Nizam but Vietnam overturned the deficit into a 2-1 lead by half-time, thanks to goals from Phan Thanh Binh and Phan Tien Thanh. As Singapore chased the game, they were constantly hit on the break by the speedy Vietnamese.
It was no surprise then that the Republic went on to concede a third goal in the 69th minute. To rub salt into Singapore’s wounds, Vietnam scored their final goal in the third minute of stoppage time.
In athletics, discus thrower Wan Lay Chi became the third Singaporean to finish fourth in the track and field competition after Stefan Tseng (men’s triple jump) and Amirudin Jamal (men’s 100m). She threw 46.09m.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan
(*Note: My thanks to sl for pointing out some factual inaccuracies in my initial report. I have amended them since. – SSF)