Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling made the perfect start in his bid to win nine gold medals at the SEA Games with a breathtaking double on Sunday.
Singapore's golden boy Joseph Isaac Schooling at the OCBC Aquatics Centre. Photo credit: Phoa Kim Meng/ SINGSOC
The teenager lived up to all the hype surrounding him with a devastating show of strength and poise at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
He won the blue-riband 100 metres freestyle in 48.58, setting a new SEA Games record, then swam the lead-off leg in the 4x200m relay. His time would have easily won him the individual 200m final on Monday but he decided to skip that event.
Vietnam's new queen of the pool Nhuyen Thi Anh Vien also won two more golds in swimming on Sunday. The teenager won the 200m backstroke and 200 individual medley, both in record time, to take her golden haul at the Games to four with more expected to come as she has entered 11 events.
Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Anh Vien in action. Photo credit: SINGSOC/ Action Images via Reuters
She spoiled her perfect record when she finished fourth in the 50m butterfly behind Singapore's darling of the pool Tao Li, who garnered her 2th SEA Games gold medal in her career.
Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen made it four medals from four events when he picked up a silver behind Schooling in the freestyle dash then joined forces with his team mate in the relay.
The host-nation enjoyed another fantastic day on Sunday, scooping up another eight golds to remain top of the medals table with 25 golds.
Soh Rui Yong got things off to a great start for the republic when he won the men's marathon, which started at dawn in the rain. The 23-year-old long-distance runner beat Thailand's Srisung Boonthung in a sprint to the finish line at the Kallang Practice Track with Hoang Nguyen Thanh of Vietnam coming third.
The women's marathon was won by Thailand's Natthaya Thanaronnawat. The silver went to Mary Joy Tabal of the Philippines and the bronze to Hoang Thi Thanh.
Peter Gilchrist, a three-time world champion in billiards, claimed his fourth gold in as many SEA Games while Singapore's women were feted like rock stars after winning the netball gold, defeating Malaysia 46-43 at the OCBC Arena Hall.
The Singapore team celebrates after winning the gold medal while the Malaysia team looks dejected. Photo credit: SINGSOC/ Action Images via Reuters
“The crowd was magnificent, it was just wonderful," Singapore coach Ruth Aitken said.
"We have been blessed all week with some fantastic crowd support and I think today it really did help to get us over the line. Thank you to the eighth player!”
But amongst the celebrations there were some sombre moments as well.
Muhammad Azreen, a member of Singapore's sepak takraw team, was involved in a motorcycle accident in the early hours of Sunday morning which claimed the life of his younger brother.
"We are very sorry for his family's loss and are currently in contact with his family to monitor his situation," the Singapore National Olympic Council said in a statement.
Games organisers also announced that a minute's silence would be held on Monday for the victims of the Mount Kinabalu earthquake tragedy in Sabah.