Philippines' Eric Shauwn Cray (6) crosses the finish line to win gold in the Athletics Men's 100m Final. Photo: SINGSOC
The 28th SEA Games just keep getting better and better for Singapore. On Tuesday, the host-nation took its tally of gold medals to 52, a new record for Singapore at the regional Games.The republic’s previous best haul was 50 golds, way back in 1993, but the country’s competitors have already surpassed that mark with a week still to go.
Fittingly, it was Singapore’s swimmers that broke the record. Joseph Schooling, showing no signs of fatigue, collected another two gold medals at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Roared on by another packed house, the 19-year-old easily won the 100 metres butterfly, the same event he won at last year’s Asian Games, then led off the Singaporean 4x100m freestyle relay to a comprehensive win.
Schooling has now won gold, and broken the SEA Games record, in each of the six events he has contested so far and still has three more races to go.
His 18-year-old team mate Quah Zheng Wen has already scooped up eight medals in the pool, including five gold, and has the chance to collect another four.
Quah won the 400m individual medley on Tuesday, then swam the anchor leg in the relay, which provided Singapore with its record 51st gold after Tao Li had equalled the mark by winning the women’s 100m backstroke. That was her third gold medal of these Games and the 27th of her amazing career.
Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen (R) and Pang Sheng Jun celebrate winning gold and silver medals Men's 400m Individual Medley Swimming Final. Photo: SINGSOC
Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, who has been the outstanding female swimmer at the Games, won another two golds on Tuesday, in the 200m freestyle and 200m butterfly. The 17-year-old, also has a silver and a bronze, matching Quah’s total of eight.
Vietnam slipped back to third place on the medals table, with 33 golds, after being overtaken by Thailand (38). Malaysia is fourth followed by Indonesia and the Philippines, which completed a first-ever double in the 100m sprints in track and field.
Eric Shauwn Cray showed his rivals a clean pair of heels to win the men's dash in 10.25 seconds before teenager Kayla Anise Richardson won the women's in 11.76 after a photo-finish with Thailand’s Wannakit Tassaporn, who was credited with the exact same time.
Indonesia's middle-distance runner Triyaningsih won the women's 5,000m, her ninth career SEA Games gold medal, while
Pandelela Rinong, a silver medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, won the women's 10-metre platform gold medal for the fourth time in a row.
"These SEA Games have given me the motivation to train harder for the world championships and to qualify for the Rio Olympics," she said.