Singapore win unprecedented 9 golds at South East Asian Canoeing Championships

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Story by Rachel Ariel Lim. Photos by Lim Kar Mei.

SEA canoeing championships

Medallists of the Junior Men Kayak Singles (K1) 1000m event. (From left) Muhammad Aiman of Singapore, Kasemit Borribooneasin of Thailand and Dang Thanh Vuong of Vietnam. (Photo 1 © Lim Kar Mei)

MacRitchie Reservoir, Sunday, December 14, 2008 – Singapore canoeists won nine gold medals last weekend in the 5th South East Asian Canoeing Championships.

Vietnam were the dominant force with with an amazing haul of 19 golds, followed by Singapore with nine golds and Thailand with seven.

It was also a good sign for Singapore that youths won six out of the nine gold medals, highlighting the Singapore Canoe Federation's (SCF) resolve in making an impact when Singapore play host to the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and the 2011 Canoe Marathon World Championships.

Over 100 canoeists from all over South East Asia descended on MacRitchie Reservoir for the 7th Senior and 5th Junior South East Asian Canoeing championships. This annual competition pits the fastest canoeists in all of South East Asia in races over distances of 1000m, 500m and 200m for national honours.

The events started well for Singapore with kayak paddler Muhammad Aiman surprising the entire field in his debut international race, garnering a silver medal in the Junior Men Singles Kayak (K1) 1000m final.

This feat was later matched by canoe paddler Ooi Ming Sheng who bagged gold in the Junior Men Canoe Singles (C1)1000m event, winning Singapore's first ever gold medal in the canoe (C) class boat.

The stars of the competition however were the Senior Women Kayak Fours (K4) consisting of the 2007 SEA Games bronze medallists Andrea Chen, Annabelle Ng, Irene Chua and Lee Weiling of Singapore.

The quartet showed vast improvement from their 2007 performance by beating their counterparts from Indonesia, the 2007 SEA games Kayak Fours winners, over 1000m, 500m and 200m distances, a clean sweep of three gold medals in the Senior Women K4 events.

The girls in the Junior Women Kayak Fours (K4) also showed that despite their age and relative inexperience, they were not afraid to live up to the expectations heaped upon them by their older sisters, striking gold in the 1000m event and silver in the 500m events.

The Senior Men also proved that they were competitive in this field, bagging bronzes in the Kayak Fours (K4), Kayak Duos (K2), Canoe Singles (C1) and Canoe Doubles (C2) events.

While Singapore Team Manager Shaun Ho and National Coach Babella Balaz declined comment on questions with regards to Singapore's chances at the YOG, it was clear from results that Singapore Canoeing's Youth Development Programme was bearing fruit, and that a medal at the YOG was definitely within reach.

SEA canoeing championships

Junior Women Kayak Doubles (K2) Junior medallists. (From left) Choo Jiayi of Singapore, Noppamart Charoenchaipunpon & Kanokpan Suansan of Thailand and Bernice Chia of Singapore. (Photo © Lim Kar Mei)

SEA canoeing championships

Medallists of the Junior Men Kayak Singles (K1) 1000m event. (From left) Muhammad Aiman of Singapore, Kasemit Borribooneasin of Thailand and Dang Thanh Vuong of Vietnam. (Photo 1 © Lim Kar Mei)

SEA canoeing championships

Senior Men Canoe Doubles (C2) Medallists. (From left) Dominic Eu of Singapore, Didin Rusdiana from Indonesia, Nguyen Duc Canh & Nguyen Viet Dung of Vietnam, Derwin Chua of Singapore and Asnwir of Indonesia. (Photo 3 © Lim Kar Mei)

SEA canoeing championships

The Indonesian Senior Women Kayak Fours (K4) in the boat sharing a lighter moment. (Photo 4 © Lim Kar Mei)

SEA canoeing championships

The Vietnamese Senior Men Kayak Fours (K4) posing for a picture after a win in the 500m event. (Photo 5 © Lim Kar Mei)

SEA canoeing championships

Medal winners of the Senior women Kayak Fours. (From left to right) Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam. They are shown here with The President of the Singapore Canoe Federation, Mr Chua Kee Huat. (Photo 6 © Lim Kar Mei)

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