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SEA GAMES 2019: Silver lining as divers get on the podium in New Clark City

08 December 2019
Philip Goh

Singapore’s diving team closed off a successful two-day campaign at the 30th Southeast Asian Games with a total of one silver and two bronze medals from the four events on offer.


The shortened diving programme at these Games saw only the 3-metre events being held, with the best result coming from the women’s 3m synchronised on Saturday (7 Dec) where Ashlee Tan and Fong Kay Yian took the silver medal (228.06 points) behind the favourites from Malaysia, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Wendy Ng (270.6).



Ashlee Tan and Fong Kay Yian are back on the podium in the 3m synchronised springboard (Photo credit: SNOC)

Earlier the same day, Mark Lee came third in the men’s 3m individual springboard with a score of 325.50, behind Malaysians Ooi Tze Liang (454.60) and Mohd Syafiq Puteh (402.50)


On Friday (6 Dec), Mark and his twin brother Timothy won the bronze medal in the men’s 3m synchronised behind Malaysia and Thailand.


Both Ashlee and Kay Yian were pleased to have been able to compete, given their busy school schedule. Ashlee is a first-year medical student at the National University of Singapore while Kay Yian is into her second year doing psychological science at James Cook University.



Ashlee Tan and Fong Kay Yian in action at the New Clark City Aquatics Centre (Photo credit: SNOC)


Said Ashlee: “It was challenging and fun to have been able to do this. Considering Kay Yian and I didn’t have much time to practice beforehand. For previous major Games we would train up to six times a week, this time we managed to train only three times a week for two months.


“We both knew that we were coming into this competition with very little training together, so we were just hoping that we can really just do our best and perform our best.


“Having to juggle school and training is very tiring but we had a lot of fun during this competition which was the most important.”


As for Mark and Timothy, it was all about consistency.



Ashlee Tan and Fong Kay Yian in action at the New Clark City Aquatics Centre (Photo credit: SNOC)

“The most important thing when you come to a competition is that you don’t need to use your hardest dives but if you can perform consistently for all six dives, you’re going to do very well,” said Mark.


“For my individual performance today, my first five dives were good but the last dive I didn’t do as well, that was the hardest of my six dives,” said Mark.


“It was a forward two and a half somersaults with two twists, and has a 3.4 degree of difficulty. I think I finally understand how to do this dive. I didn’t get the take-off I wanted, I needed to propel myself higher and that’s something I’ll continue working on in training.”


Brothers Mark and Timothy Lee got in the medals at the 30th SEA Games (Photo credit: SNOC)


As for Timothy, it was a matter of getting things back on track following a series of injuries.


“I suffered a left ankle injury after landing wrongly in a sponge pit,” he said.  


“Recovery was fine but over the months I just overloaded on the right side. And that resulted in a knee injury. So I had tendonosis in my knee in two areas, I had small tears in my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) and my cartilage was also starting to wear out a little bit.


“So in July was when I started to take time to take care of my knee, making sure I get healthy, and right now I’m in a much better place. In July, I couldn’t even straighten my leg or climb the stairs without pain.


“I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to be here for the SEA Games, so I’m very thankful to be here. I’m close to being 100 per cent again but it’s still a process leading up to Olympic qualification.”


As for the medals won in New Clark City, Mark puts it in perspective.


“We’re competing against ourselves, and the medal is the outcome of the process goals,” he said.


The twins will be heading to Beijing for a training camp leading up to the Olympic qualifying season, where they will likely be putting in up to eight hours of work per day finetuning their techniques to make sure they continue to dive consistently.


Said Mark, looking forward to the trip: “It should be good for us. You know, being away and being not distracted by things in Singapore but just being there just to focus on what needs to be done

in training.


Added Timothy: “Being in China, where you're learning from the best, you know, we're going to be training with the local athletes, so I think that will be good for us as well.”

Tags: Major Games

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