SEA GAMES 2019: Roar for Team Singapore
06 December 2019
Into the sixth official day since the 30th Southeast Asian Games was officially opened, and Team Singapore athletes have been busy across the four main hubs where the games are being staged, delivering 27 gold medals so far from a total of 77 medals won.
Majulah Singapura has rung out at 11 separate venues as the Singapore flag fluttered aproud.
Two days into the swimming programme at the New Clark City Aquatics Centre, and already Singapore athletes have stood on the top podium on eight occasions. The Quah siblings of Ting Wen, Zheng Wen and Jing Wen carved themselves a little part of Singapore sporting history by each winning individual gold medals on the same night, all in meet record times, quite likely a first.
And while Joseph Schooling continue to command adulation as a Southeast Asian sporting hero, there is no shortage of other budding stars looking for their own breakthroughs. Teong Zhen Wei, Elena Pedersen, Christie Chue and Gan Ching Hwee are all names to look out for in the future.
So far, 24 sports that have put themselves on the medal tally board, from familiar ones such as bowling and fencing to the lesser knowns such as chess, underwater hockey, sambo and kurash.
Chess saw woman grandmaster Gong Qianyun delivering Singapore’s 900th gold medal at the SEA Games. The 34-year-old became a new Singapore citizen in 2014 after her marriage and proudly represents her new nation, illustrating the fact that sports knows no boundaries.
Across all sports come stories of heroism and sacrifice, of the fight against time to recover from injuries and illnesses so as to pull on the Singapore jacket at these Games, of tough decisions and sacrifice because representing the nation is the highest of privileges.
In 2017, Team Singapore’s contingent of 560 athletes set a new bar for an away Games by winning 58 gold, 59 silver and 71 bronze medals.
In the Philippines this time, 666 Team Singapore athletes will see action across 48 sports, and at the midway point, half the sports have delivered medals, bringing joy to their loyal fanbase, friends and family.
Many of those who have medalled are debutants, driven by the dream to do Singapore proud. They have stepped up and given their all, and not all the stories have golden endings.
Take shooting’s Ho Xiu Yi, who gave it her all and had to settle for a silver in her 10m air rifle event.
Said the 19-year-old: “I made mistakes and lost focus and towards the end of the match, which was upsetting for me.”
But you can be sure she will be fighting on and next time she will go one better.
Resilience in the face of defeat and continuing to run until the final whistle, that was the hallmark of the Singapore netball team so deserving of support. Dominant more much of the past decade, the team has had to contend with a stronger Malaysian team while undergoing rebuilding.
Goalkeeper Sindhu Nair picked up her first international cap in May last year and has fast become one of the team’s most popular among fans.
“I knew I had to fight till the final second regardless of the score, out of pride for our country, to make sure I leave with no regrets, and to respect the sacrifices every single one of us have made,” said the 23-year-old, who along with her team-mates suffered a heart-rending loss to Malaysia for the second consecutive SEA Games.
Fencing’s Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman know what it means to compete while fasting through Ramadan so as to chase the dream. Surgery on her ankle ligaments last year meant a race against time to even qualify for the Games. When that was secured, the National University of Singapore science undergraduate doubled her training to ensure she was fully prepared to seize the opportunity when it arose. She would be unbeaten en route to gold in the women’s individual epee.
The three ladies in lawn bowl, the 24 underwater hockey players who brought home four gold medals, sambo and kurash exponents who broke new grounds for Singapore sports, they all have a story to tell, and all they hope in return is for the nation to continue backing them.
Even the nation’s footballers, for whom nothing quite went right, they held their heads high in the face of mounting public criticism, knowing that they have put in the hours and one day the results will fall their way.
At the half way mark of the Games, Singapore athletes have been fighting heart and soul for the glory of the nation. You can bet the medal will continue to be won until the last athlete has gone out to the field of competition.
ROAR as ONE for Team Singapore!!!