Singapore Wins 6 More Golds In Swimming

The Republic’s swimmers blitzed the pool Monday (Jun 8) winning six gold medals on a night of domination that was tinged with sadness at the 28th Southeast Asia (SEA) Games.

The crowd and officials held a minute’s silence at the outset of the evening to pay tribute to the children from Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) who died in the Sabah earthquake last week.

And Singapore’s athletes duly delivered an inspiring collective performance that saw four Games records broken.

Joseph Schooling and Quah Ting Wen were the sparkling lights, both claiming two golds each; Schooling later dedicated his swims to the TKPS kids, and thanked for the crowd for their at-times deafening cheering. “You guys are really a help, we really can hear you every time,” he said.

The night began just as it did on Sunday, with a gold medal for Singapore’s Tao Li. She claimed her 26th SEA Games crown with a record-breaking swim in the 50m backstroke, ahead of compatriot Shana Lim, in her final national race.

“I just want to win everything,” Tao said. “I didn’t know how many gold or silver medals I have won but every time I’ve won I feel like my hard work has paid off.”

She added: “Tonight I proved that I can still do it and I do it well. When you come out its like ooh, this doesn’t happen often, maybe once in my life that everyone cheers for you and cheers for Singapore.”

A Schooling win in the 50m freestyle kept the Singapore golds rolling before Quah broke the field apart in the women’s 100m freestyle with a 55.93 second swim from lane 2 to beat home Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, who was unable to add to the four golds she’s won already this SEA Games.

Quah’s brother Zheng Wen then made it four in a row as he narrowly missed going sub-two minutes in a powerful win in the 200m backstroke, ahead of Vietnam’s Tran Duy Khoi.

Singapore’s Malcolm Low faded to seventh after being seeded fourth for the race, but said he is looking forward.”This was my only event so that’s why I was pretty disappointed. From this experience I’ll train harder and I’ll do better the next time,” he said.

Singapore’s victorious 4x200m women’s freestyle relay quartet. (Photo: Jack Board)

Malaysia broke the winning streak when 17-year-old Phee Jinq En swam to success in the women’s 100m breaststroke. She had a pair of Singaporeans in arrears, however, with Roanne Ho and Samantha Yeo taking the silver and bronze medals respectively and embracing warmly after the race.

“It means a lot because there’s eight of us and all of us are really close in standards so I think being able to get two and three is really amazing,” Ho said. “I would say countless times, we’re up against tough competition. Both of us put in our best efforts so both of us are really happy,” Yeo added.

Schooling posted the world’s 7th fastest time of the year as he cruised to another gold ahead of Quah in the 200m butterfly, but the real crescendo of the evening was still to come for the rowdy red crowd.

Thailand started as underdogs in the three-team field for the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay, but soon found themselves in open air, leading until deep into the fourth and final leg.

It was to be heartbreak for the Thais, and a night to remember for Quah Ting Wen as she stormed home as anchor, and won Singapore’s sixth gold for the night.

As the relay team of May Chue, Samantha Lim, Rachel Tseng and Quah stood on the winner’s podium, the Singapore national anthem malfunctioned and cut out. The crowd, on their feet, lifted their voice and finished off the final verse before breaking out in rapturous applause.

It was a touching moment of solidarity in a period that has touched the emotional nerve of the host nation.



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