Straits Times: SEA Games: Dramatic day for Singapore of winning - and losing

By Chia Han Keong Assistant Sports Editor In Naypyidaw
Singapore athletes swung between victory and defeat yesterday.

Cycling and silat triumphed, the footballers met their target with a draw while the hurlers and swimmers experienced wins as well as losses.

There were surprise golds, and there were last-gasp goals at the fourth official day of the Myanmar SEA Games here.

Age finally caught up with James Wong, a 10-time SEA Games gold medallist (nine for discus, one for hammer throw). The 44-year-old discus king finished fifth in his pet event, even though he made his best throw of the year with a 50.82m effort at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium.

However, Singapore's shot put queen Zhang Guirong, 35, showed no signs of relinquishing her title, which she has held since 2005.

Her 14.99m final throw just managed to eclipse compatriot Du Xianhui's 14.92m effort for her fifth SEA Games gold in the event.

While Zhang's win was expected, Dinah Chan's stunning victory in the 30km individual time trial was anything but. The 27-year- old becomes only the fourth Singaporean to win a cycling gold at the Games - the first since Bernard Wong in the 1997 Jakarta edition.

Her feat was all the more astonishing, considering that she suffered damaged teeth, abrasions and bruises in a traffic accident in September, when her bicycle collided with a car during her training at East Coast Park.

There was also a shock in the silat finals at the Zayyathiri Indoor Stadium, as Muhammad Nur Alfian Juma'en, 17, belied his youthful inexperience to thrash Vietnamese world champion Pham Van Ty 5-0 in their Class F clash. That earned Singapore's first silat gold of the Games on the final day of the competition. The Republic's swimmers bagged a fourth gold, as the women's 4x100m medley relay team of Tao Li, Samantha Yeo, Quah Ting Wen and Amanda Lim led their race from start to finish to win in 4min 13.02sec.

But 15-year-old Darren Lim, 15, on whom hopes were pinned on winning the men's 50m freestyle and breaking Ang Peng Siong's long-standing mark of 22.69, swam miserably, managing only a fifth place in 23.58sec. Instead, his less fancied teammate Russell Ong won a silver with a superb 23.14sec swim. Finally, the Causeway clash between Singapore and Malaysia lived up to its billing, with the football match finishing 1-1 after Malaysian substitute Rozaimi Abdul Rahman's last-minute free kick cancelled out Afiq Yunos' 60th-minute goal. Singapore still made the semi-finals.

The Republic ended the day with 16 golds, 14 silvers and 24 bronzes, and lie sixth in the 11-nation medal standings.