By Erwin Wong/Red Sports
James lets out a primal scream after his fourth throw which eventually wins him the gold. His throw of 51.32m ensured his 10th SEA Games gold. (Photo 1 by Matt King/Getty Images)
Singapore’s athletics team at the 26th South-east Asian (SEA) Games exceeded the six-medal target set by Tang Weng Fei, the president of the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA). They won seven medals — two gold, three silver and two bronze.
Throwers James Wong and Zhang Guirong, who had won Singapore’s two gold medals at the previous Games in Laos, repeated their feat to defend their titles.
James, 42, won gold in the men’s discus, throwing a distance of 51.32m to capture his 10th SEA Games gold. James was the flag bearer for Singapore at the games opening ceremony.
James overcame a shaky start, where he fouled two of his first three attempts, and powered to the top of the leaderboard with the only two 51m+ throws in the competition on his fourth and fifth hurls. Indonesia’s Hermanto won the silver medal with his final round throw of 50.56m, while Thailand’s Kwanchai Numsomboo was third on 50.28m.
“I feel very relieved and excited because it was my main mission to come to the SEA Games to defend my title and win my last gold medal,” said James, who is retiring from international competition.
Zhang Guirong won Singapore’s other gold in the women’s Shot Put with a season’s best throw of 16.59m. Compatriot Wan Lay Chi finished second with a personal best hurl of 14.59m.
Guirong also clinched a bronze in the discus, with a season’s best throw of 48.22m. Lay Chi, whose season’s best is also 48.22m, was fourth with a distance of 46.79m.
Chong Ming Xun won a bronze on a countback in the men’s pole vault event. He cleared 4.70m on his first attempt while Indonesian Henri Setiawan only did so on his last try. This equalled Edwin’s personal best, which he recorded at September’s Negeri Sembilan Open.
Stefan Tseng was fifth in the men’s triple jump with a distance of 15.72m, while Rachel Yang failed to clear her opening height in the women’s pole vault. Both are the national record holders in their respective disciplines.
Gary Yeo, 25, won the 100m silver with a time of 10.46s. Franklin Burumi of Indonesia, who started slowly in Lane 6, came from behind to win the gold in 10.37s while Thailand’s Wachara Sondee, in Lane 8, was third in 10.47s. Gary ran in Lane 3.
It was Singapore’s first sprint medal since UK Shyam won silver at the 2001 SEA Games in a national record of 10.37s. Gary had qualified for the final with a 10.64 performance, the second fastest time in the heats. An injured Muhd Elfi Mustapa could only finish in 11.22s and did not qualify for the final.
The wind speed for the final was +2.1 metres per second, above the allowable limit of +2.0 m/s for record-setting purposes. Gary’s legal lifetime best is 10.62s, clocked in July this year.
Gary then anchored Singapore to an outstanding time of 39.91s to win the silver in the men’s 4x100m relay, but the quartet of Calvin Kang (1st runner), Muhd Amirudin Jamal (2nd), Lee Cheng Wei (3rd) and Gary will probably feel that they, and not the Indonesians, should be holding the gold in the cold light of day.
Cheng Wei ran excellently on the bend and handed the baton over to Gary, with Singapore in a significant lead over the Indonesians. However, Singapore fans watched in agony as the lead evaporated over the final straight and the host country eventually beat them by a mere 0.004s.
Singapore officials lodged an appeal but there was no doubt over the photo finish.
The foursome matched the silver-winning performance at the 2009 Laos Games. In that race, Gary, Elfi, Cheng Wei and Amirudin set the national record of 39.82s which still stands.
The Malaysians won the bronze in 40.41 while the Thais, the traditional relay powerhouses, were fourth in 40.44.
Muhd Zaki Sapari broke his own national junior record in the 400m hurdles heats. He clocked a time of 53.51 seconds, bettering his record by 0.08 seconds. That qualified him for the final, where he finished eighth in 54.51. Timothee Yap, 17, failed to advance from the heats after a 55.51s showing.
Ng Chin Hui finished fourth in the 400m final with a time of 48.37s while Kenneth Khoo was eighth in 49.74s. Chin Hui’s national junior record is 47.97s, which Indonesia’s Yakobus clocked to win the bronze. His compatriot Heru won the gold in 47.53s while Filipino Christian Archand was second in 47.71.
Zaki, Chin Hui, Kenneth and Lance Tan combined to help Singapore to a fourth-placed finish in the men’s 4x400m relay final. They clocked a time of 3:18.50.
Cheng Wei and Calvin both qualified for the men’s 200m final, where they clocked sub-22 seconds to finish fifth and eighth respectively. It was the first time in recent memory that Singapore had two representatives in the 200m final.
Valerie Pereira suffered a suspected hamstring injury at the 70m mark of her 200m heat. She finished in 33.09s and did not qualify for the final. The injury caused her to sit out the 4x400m relay final that same evening. Nikita Sharda took her place and together with Wendy Enn, T Piriyah and Dipna Lim Prasad, helped Team Singapore to fifth place.
In the 100m hurdles, national record holder Dipna finished fifth in her heat with a time of 14.44s and did not qualify for the final.
Piriyah, also a national record holder in the 400m hurdles, finished eighth with her fastest time of the year in 63.49s.
Renuka Satianathan finished last in a field of five in a time of 38:50.61 in the women’s 10,000m, while Qi Hui dropped out at the 39km mark of the women’s marathon due to heat exhaustion.
In the 400m, Wendy finished fifth in a time of 59.42s in her heat while Charlene Oh was timed in 63.74s. Both did not make the final.
Team Singapore 26th SEA Games Athletics team (Male)PB - Personal best. SB - Season's best. Parentheses indicate order of relay runner. For example, 4x100m (1) indicates Calvin Kang is the 4x100m relay team's first runner.
|Chong Ming Xun||23||Pole Vault||Final||4.70m||Bronze||Equal PB||4.70m|
|Lee Cheng Wei||24||200m||Heats||22.21s||5th||21.57s|
|Muhd Amirudin||24||4x100m (2)||Final||Silver|
|Muhd Zaki||19||400m Hurdles||Heats||53.51s||7th||Junior Rec||53.59s|
|Ng Chin Hui||17||400m||Heats||49.77s||6th||47.97s|
|Lance Tan||24||4x400m (4)||Final||4th|
|Stefan Tseng||21||Triple Jump||Final||15.72m||5th||16.04m|
|Timothee Yap||17||400m Hurdles||Heats||55.51s||11th||54.08s|
Team Singapore 26th SEA Games Athletics team (Female)PB - Personal best. SB - Season's best. DNF - Did not finish. NH - No height. Parentheses indicate order of relay runner. For example, 4x400m (1) indicates Nikita Sharda is the 4x400m relay team's first runner.
|Dipna Lim Prasad||20||100m Hurdles||Heats||14.44s||9th||14.23s|
|Nikita Sharda||21||4x400m (1)||Final||5th|
|T Piriyah||19||400m Hurdles||Final||63.49s||8th||SB||61.69s|
|Wan Lay Chi||23||Shot Put||Final||14.59s||Silver||PB||14.28m|
|Rachel Yang||29||Pole Vault||Final||NH||3.82m|
|Zhang Guirong||33||Shot Put||Final||16.96m||Gold||SB||18.57m|
Historical medal tally for Singapore Athletics team at SEA Games
James Wong winds up an attempt in the discus. He fouled his second and third attempts before eventually throwing 51.32m for his fourth attempt. He did not beat that distance in his final two throws but it was enough to win gold. (Photo 2 by Matt King/Getty Images)
Go to next page for more photos, and videos of selected track and field events