Story by Colin Tung/Red Sports. Pictures by Les Tan/Red Sports.
Quah Ting Wen with her 100m freestyle gold medal. She went on to win another in the 4x100m freestyle relay later in the evening. (Photo 1 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Singapore Sports School, Monday, July 6, 2009 – The golden quartet of Koh Hui Yu, Quah Ting Wen, Amanda Lim and Lynette Lim sealed Singapore’s 5th gold in swimming with their win in the 4x100m freestyle relay in a time of 3 minutes 46.91 seconds.
Lynette touched home ahead of South Korea, who finished second in 3:50.56, and China, who clocked 3:51.34. The girls’ sensational swim smashed the old national record of 3:53.33 set in 2006 at the Asian Games in Doha by Ho Shu Yong, Tao Li, Mylene Ong and Lynette Ng.
As the Singapore girls were introduced before the commencement of the final, the crowd broke into rapturous applause and cheers. And the girls lapped up all the attention with Hui Yu and Lynette striking the famous ‘Bolt’ pose, and Ting Wen and Amanda flexing their biceps.
The team was expected to splash to a win in the final event of the competition after clocking the fastest qualifying time of 3:53.99 – over four seconds faster than Korea, who had qualified second.
Hui Yu took the starting blocks for Singapore and put the team in good position to win as she finished her leg in second place behind Korea. Ting Wen jumped in and then obliterated the rest of the field to take the lead. By the time she touched the wall for Amanda’s turn, she had established an approximate three-body length lead.
With such a comfortable lead, there was no way the girls could lose it in front of such a vociferous crowd who were on their feet egging them on. Amanda and Lynette continued their race against the clock while maintaining Singapore’s lead and subsequently, romped home to a new national record. The quartet clocked individual leg times of 58.18s, 55.38s, 55.96s and 57.39s respectively.
It was a fitting way to end the swimming competition for Singapore and Ting Wen was quite clear which of the two medals on the night meant more to her.
“The relay gold means more to me. I’ve always liked the relays where all the swimmers come together,” she said.
When asked about how she felt being the most successful Singaporean athlete at the Asian Youth Games, she said: “It feels good. I’ve exceeded my expectations with four golds. I feel proud for Singapore.”
While the relay gold was Ting Wen’s fourth, for 14-year-old Hui Yu (her birthday falls on March 14), Singapore’s youngest gold medallist at the 1st Asian Youth Games, it was her first of any kind. Hui Yu blushed as she said, “I feel really happy. I’m excited to get a medal and I didn’t expect the national record to come with it. I feel lucky to be part of this team.”
One could sense Hui Yu’s delight at the win, and with the other three swimmers in the relay team already relatively established with their own individual national records, this achievement could perhaps be the impetus to spur her on to greater heights.
She added, “I am looking at this year’s SEA Games and some day, the Olympics. Ting Wen inspires me. She’s fast in the freestyle and the individual medley events and I do those events as well.”
With that, the Singapore team wrapped up the swimming competition with a bang having garnered five golds, two silvers and five bronzes. They had earlier started the evening in the same manner in the girls’ 100m freestyle race that pit Ting Wen and Amanda against each other again, after they had finished 1-2 in the 50m freestyle event.
Swimming in lanes 3 and 5 respectively, Kim Junghye of Korea stood between them in lane 4 with the fastest qualifying time of 57.51s out of the heats. As the buzzer sounded the start of the race though, it was Ting Wen and Amanda who were fastest off the blocks in 0.67s and 0.71s respectively.
At the end, it was not Kim Junghye but 0.67s which separated Ting Wen and Amanda as the latter once again played bridesmaid. Ting Wen won in 55.57s while Amanda clocked 56.24. Kim Junghye finished third in 56.39s.
In other events, Clement Lim clocked 52.47s to place fifth in the boys’ 100m freestyle final. The event was won by Lum Ching Tat of Hong Kong in 50.48s. Silver and bronze medals went to Althuwaini Abdullah of Kuwait and Dsouza Aaron Agnel of India in times of 51.28s and 51.52 respectively.
In the girls’ 200m breaststroke final, Cheryl Lim clocked 2:45.63 to place seventh. The event was won by Litvina Yuliya of Kazakhstan in a time of 2:35.13. Yvette Kong of Hong Kong and Wang Chang of China got the silver and bronze medals in times of 2:35.24 and 2:36.38 respectively.
In the boys’ 200m breaststroke final, Lionel Khoo clocked 2:26.26 to place sixth. The winner was Ketin Nuttapong of Thailand in a time of 2:17.25 as Gil Byeong Hwi and Jung Wonyong, both of Korea, picked up the silver and bronze medals in times of 2:18.28 and 2:20.90 respectively.
Singapore had two representatives in the girls’ 50m backstroke event. Adeline Winata and Deborah Chua finished in sixth and eighth positions in times of 31.31s and 32.28s respectively.
Lastly, in the boys’ 50m backstroke event, Rainer Ng missed out on a podium finish in finishing fourth with a time of 27.24s. Chung Lai Yeung of Hong Kong pipped Rainer by an agonising 0.05s to take the bronze in a time of 27.19s. The winner of the event was Althuwaini Abdullah of Kuwait, second earlier in the 100m freestyle, in 26.45s with Baimanov Ruslan trailing him in second place in 27.16s.
As the swimmers posed for team pictures after the conclusion of the meet, those who were in attendance can say they witnessed the coronation of Singapore’s latest generation of swim queens.
Ting Wen enters the watery realm at the start of the 100m freestyle. (Photo 2 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
The 1-2 finish by Ting Wen and Amanda ensures Singapore’s flag flies high and the Majulah Singapura is sung. (Photo 3 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Hui Yu on her way to a PB of 58.18 in the first leg of the 4x100m freestyle relay. (Photo 4 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Amanda dives in for the third leg. She kept the lead for the Singapore team with a split of 55.96s. (Photo 5 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Lynette with a huge lead in the anchor leg that she was never in any danger of losing. (Photo 6 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
The girls share a group hug after the race which they won in 3 minutes 46.91 seconds. (Photo 7 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
The girls contemplate their achievement as they see the national flag raised. From left to right: Koh Hui Yu, Quah Ting Wen, Amanda Lim and Lynette Lim. (Photo 8 © Les Tan/Red Sports)