SINGAPORE — The gold rush has begun for Singapore on Wednesday (4 December), largely thanks to the Quah swimming siblings who clinched four golds and broke four SEA Games records in New Clark City.
Quah Ting Wen, Quah Zheng Wen and Quah Jing Wen nabbed an individual gold each – the first time the three siblings all won golds in a single day of competition. Zheng Wen later added another gold as part of the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay team with Joseph Schooling, Jonathan Tan and Darren Chua.
In total, Singapore athletes more than doubled their gold tally at the SEA Games in one day, starting the day with eight golds from the past three official competition days and finishing with 18. The gold rush allowed Singapore to overtake Thailand and Indonesia on the medal table.
Speed skaters and fencer earn golds
After the women’s triples lawn bowls team and the men’s and women’s underwater hockey teams clinched golds in the morning, the speed skaters brought in two more golds in the afternoon.
Cheyenne Goh, who had won the women’s short track speed skating 500m gold on Tuesday, added another triumph in the women’s 1,000m race, clocking 1min 39.272sec to finish ahead of Indonesia’s Nur Indah Ratu (1:41.314) and Malaysia’s Dione Tan (1:41.674).
Shortly after her win, the men’s short track speed skating 3,000m relay team of Zen Koh, Lucas Ng, Trevor Tan and Xu Jingfeng came out tops in their final in a time of 4:23.256, just pipping the teams from Thailand (4:24.549) and Indonesia (4:24.780).
After the two speed skating golds, the next victory for Team Singapore came at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, when 19-year-old fencer Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman – ranked 222nd in the world – scored an upset win over home favourite, world No. 151 Abella Haniel 15-12 in the women’s individual epee final.
This was Singapore’s second fencing title at the Games, after Amita Berthier took home the women’s individual foil gold on Tuesday.
Swimmers seek to dominate
The gold rush continued expectedly at the New Clark City Aquatic Center, as Singapore swimmers seek to continue their dominance in the pool, after winning 19 golds at the 2017 Games.
Jing Wen started the ball rolling in the women’s 200m butterfly, clocking a Games record 2:10.97 to beat Philippines’ Remedy Alexis Rule (2:10.99) and Vietnam’s Le Thi My Thao (2:12.70) to the gold.
Next was elder brother Zheng Wen in his pet event, the men’s 100m backstroke. He won it in style, clocking 53.79sec to set a new national and SEA Games record. Vietnam’s Le Nguyen Paul came in second in a distant 54.98sec, while Indonesia’s I Gede Siman Sudartawa was third with 55.68sec.
Zheng Wen’s timing also made the Olympic A qualifying mark, meaning that he will be able to feature in his second Olympics next year in Tokyo.
After watching her two younger siblings triumph, Ting Wen – who had already broken her own Games record in the women’s 100m freestyle in the morning heats – smashed her record again by 0.01sec, clocking 54.74sec in the final to win gold, as compatriot Cherlyn Yeoh came in second (55.55sec) and Philippines’ Jasmine Alkhaldi took the bronze (55.76sec).
Finally, the Singapore men’s 4x200m freestyle team easily clinched gold with a Games record timing of 7:17.88, outlasting the teams from Vietnam (7:21.51) and Malaysia (7:27.55).
SEA Games stories: