Myanmar, Tuesday, December 10, 2013 – Singapore maintained their grip on the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games water polo gold when they beat hosts Myanmar 21–13.
The victory over Myanmar was Singapore’s fourth consecutive win and the team finished the tournament undefeated.
Indonesia beat Thailand 12–7 in their final game to secure the silver medal. Thailand finished third.
Singapore’s game against Indonesia was the key to determine who would win the gold. Singapore eventually won 8–5, a game which team manager Samuel Wong described as a full of action that “exploded with lots of offensive play and … counter attacks.”
Singapore led 4–3 at half time and heading into the final period, held a slim 5–4 lead. Singapore outscored the Indonesians 3–1 in the final period to wrap up the win. With only a final game against Myanmar at that point, the gold was almost assured.
“Nigel Tay, our goalkeeper, orchestrated his team of defenders brilliantly, fencing off the almost certain goals from the opponents,” recalled Samuel of the game against the Indonesians.
“A personal highlight [of the Games] would definitely be our match against Indonesia where I tore my adductor muscle in the third quarter,” said veteran goalkeeper Nigel Tay, 25. “I knew I had to go on at that point because the tension was high and I felt I could do it under the adrenaline. Winning the match with the injury made it all worth it and extra special for all of us. My personal milestone was definitely having been able to perform well under pressure and also to lead the team to victory as one of the senior players in the squad.”
“The feelings I had after winning the gold medal was a mixture of relief and surrealism. It was a relief because of the pain of my injury and that of securing our 25th gold, and surrealism because it’s my 4th SEA Games gold and I never thought I would have gone so far. Very proud of being a part of this squad as well,” added Nigel.
Singapore beat Malaysia 18–7 and Thailand 8–5 in their other two games.
The game against Thailand gave rise to moments of concern as the Thais defended well.
“It was just one of those days that things just went off track despite the good planning,” recalled Samuel. “We started with heavy shelling on the Thai defence but it was defused by the outstanding Thai defence, especially their goal keeper. The Thais placed heavy emphasis on their defence against our offensive play.
“We did some changes on the team positions, whereby Loh Zhizhi stepped in as a centre back which consolidated the core of our defence. Koh Jian Ying rose up to the occasion, scoring a hat-trick which put the team back into fighting momentum.”
For Jian Ying, the hat-trick was certainly memorable.
“A personal highlight for me was probably the three goals I scored against Thailand. The milestone [we achieved] is retaining our SEA Games title,” said Jian Ying.
“What I felt after winning was a sense of satisfaction as I never doubted that we would defend our title,” added Jian Ying.
For Sean Ang, who took the year off from school to train full time for the Games, it was an unforgettable experience.
“The feeling was surreal. Winning the SEA Games gold medal was always something that I would admire when I watch the past few SEA Games matches. And I felt really honoured to have been able to be part of this years team and bring back yet another gold for Singapore,” said Sean.
“The highlight of the competition was definitely beating Indonesia even though we probably would’ve been able to widen the gap if we had played better. I didn’t exactly set a goal for myself for this competition so I had not aimed for very much but I think I did alright besides the fact that I missed quite a number of shots against Indonesia and Thailand,” added Sean.
Indonesia 12 Thailand 7
Singapore 21 Myanmar 13
Malaysia 28 Myanmar 11
Singapore 8 Indonesia 5
Malaysia 2 Indonesia 16
Singapore 8 Thailand 5
Thailand 9 Malaysia 3
Myanmar 1 Indonesia 30
Myanmar 3 Thailand 22
Singapore 18 Malaysia 7
Singapore Water Polo Squad
Nigel Tay Sin Chao, Lin Di Yang, Loh Zhi Zhi, Eugene Teo Zhen Wei, Lim Yao Xiang Paul Louis Tan Jwee Ann, Chiam Kun Yang, Samuel Moses Yu Nan Feng, Toh Zhi Hong, Sean Ang Wei Ming, Yip Yang, Koh Jian Ying, Byron Quek Ruisheng
Lee Sai Meng – Head Coach
Choo Chin Cheng – Assistant Coach
Samuel Wong Kok Piew – Team Manager
Tom Hoad – Consultant
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