SEA Games 2023: Amid swimming gold rush, Letitia Sim shines with 2nd Games record

Swimmers enjoy five-gold haul, while silat world champ Sheik Farhan clinches his third gold despite in lower weight class

Singapore swimmer Letitia Sim en route to winning her third gold of the 2023 SEA Games in the women's 200m breaststroke. (PHOTO: SNOC/Andy Chua)
Singapore swimmer Letitia Sim en route to winning her third gold of the 2023 SEA Games in the women's 200m breaststroke. (PHOTO: SNOC/Andy Chua)

SINGAPORE — Such is the constant SEA Games medal rush for Singapore at the Morodor Techo Aquatic Center in Phnom Penh, that Letitia Sim's brilliant performances were often overshadowed by the likes of the Quah siblings and double gold-medallist Jonathan Tan.

On Wednesday (10 May), the 20-year-old continued to produce winning swims, as she clinched gold in the women's 200m breaststroke in 2min 28.49sec, smashing the Games record of 2:28.71 set by compatriot Christie Chue at the 2019 edition.

It was also a new national record and Sim's personal-best time, as she out-swam silver medallist Phiangkhwan Pawapotako (2:32.44) and Chue in third spot (2:32.60).

This was also her second Games record set in as many nights, after she won the 100m breaststroke final in record time as well on Tuesday. In total, Sim has three golds and one silver so far - having won the 200m individual medley on Sunday and coming in second in the 50m breaststroke on Saturday.

Like Sim, Quah Ting Wen also won her third gold of the Games - and the 29th of her illustrious career - as she edged out compatriot Amanda Lim in the women's 50m freestyle final.

The 30-year-old also clocked a Games record of 25.04sec to finish ahead of Lim (25.16) and Thailand's Jenjira Srisaard (25.32).

In the men's 50m butterfly, Mikkel Lee won his first gold of the Games, beating compatriot and defending champion Teong Tzen Wei. Lee clocked a personal-best 23.45sec for the win, while Teong - who has come in second in all his three individual events - timed 23.67sec for silver. The Philippines' Jarod Lang Hatch (23.89sec) was third.

Singapore's fourth swimming gold of the night came in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay, as Gan Ching Hwee, Ashley Lim, Chan Zi Yi, and Quah teamed up to win in 8:12.80. The Philippines team came in second (8:19.94) ahead of Malaysia (8:41.49).

In the final race of the night, Singapore's men's 4x100m freestyle team of Jonathan Tan, Mikkel Lee, Darren Chua and Quah Zheng Wen also snared gold in 3:17.35. The silver medal went to Malaysia (3:20.61) while Vietnam (3:21.09) came in third.

Third Games gold for silat's Sheik Farhan

At the Chroy Changvar Convention Centre, Singapore's silat world champion Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin clinched his third men's tanding SEA Games gold medal, after previous triumphs in the 2017 and 2022 editions.

Unlike the previous two wins, the 26-year-old won this time in the Class I (85-90kg) weight class, a division down from his usual Class J (90-95kg) division that also saw him win four world titles (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2022).

Going down a weight class did not seem to trouble Sheik Farhan too much, as he easily defeated Malaysia's Muhammad Robial Sobri 42-11 in the final to clinch Singapore's second silat gold of the Games.

The women's artistic silat team of Amirah Sahrin, Iffah Batrisyia Noh and Nur Ashikin Zulkifli had won the first gold on Sunday. In total, the Singapore silat contingent won two golds, three silvers and five bronzes in Phnom Penh, a slight dip from their best-ever showing in Hanoi last year (four golds, three silvers, four bronzes).

Badminton teams settle for bronze

At the Morodok Techo Badminton Hall, Singapore retained both men's and women's team bronzes, after losing to their opponents in the semi-finals.

In the men's team event, Singapore lost 1-3 to Indonesia, with top shuttler Loh Kean Yew narrowly losing 21-10, 7-21, 22-24 to Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo in the first singles.

First doubles pair Loh Kean Hean and Terry Hee were beaten 15-21, 17-21 by 2022 All England champions Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana, but Jason Teh gave Singapore hope by defeating Christian Adinata 15-21, 21-12, 21-14 in the second singles.

In the decisive second doubles, former junior world No.1s Ng Joo Jie and Johann Prajogo could not overcome Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob, losing 18-21, 16-21.

The Singapore women's team also could not reach the final, losing 1-3 to the Philippines.

While Yeo Jia Min gave the city-state the lead in the first singles with a 21-15, 21-6 win over Lalinrat Chaiwan, Singapore lost the next three ties to settle for joint-bronze.

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