|Christina Loh grabbed Malaysia's first swimming gold in the 100m breaststroke event on Dec 13, 2013 with a personal best of 1:10.55.|
NAYPYITAW: Swimmer Christina Loh continued off from where Siow Yi Ting left to save the day for Malaysia by bagging the women’s 100m breaststroke gold medal at the Wunna Theikdi Aquatic Centre on Friday.
There were questions as to whether the 18-year-old Christina was capable of filling the big shoes of 28-year-old Yi Ting, a four-time Olympian and multiple SEA Games gold medallist who quit the sport three months earlier due to a growth in her neck and her age.
Yi Ting has never failed to deliver a gold for Malaysia in women’s 100m breaststroke since Korat in 2007 and Christina provided the perfect answer by leading from start to finish to give Malaysia the first victory in the pool.
She posted a personal best time of 1:10.55 to finish ahead of Thais Salubluek Chavunnooch (1:11.35) and Pawapatako Phiangkhwan (1:12.68).
Another Malaysian, Nadia Adrianna Redza, was sixth in 1:15.33.
It’s not Christina’s first SEA Games gold medal, having made her debut by winning the 50m breaststroke event in Palembang two years ago.
However, she is unable to defend the title as the event is not included in Myanmar.
Christina took a break to focus on her SPM examinations and also the fact that she was struggling to cope with the transition from being a teenager to a young woman.
Christina, who was fastest in the heats with 1:12.51, was delighted to have turned the silver she won in the event in Palembang into gold.
“I’m happy to continue from where Yi Ting left. She has done a lot for Malaysia at the SEA Games and I am proud to maintain it. I wanted to swim faster but this is a decent timing for me,” said the Penang-born Christina, who still has the 200m breaststroke to look forward to, although it’s not her pet event.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Fauzi Sidiq Triady clocked 49.99 to smash Daniel Bego’s Games record of 50.16, set in Vientiane in 2009, en route to winning the men’s 100m freestyle gold.
Daniel, who swam on the outer lane, settled for fourth in 51.21 while Lim Ching Hwang ended a disappointing eighth in 52.04.
Singapore’s Joseph Schooling set the other SEA Games record in the 200m individual medley, clocking 2:00.82 to erase the 2011 mark of 2:02.90 belonging to Ketin Nuttapong of Thailand.
Malaysia’s gold medal hope today lies in Kevin Yeap and Daniel in the men’s 400m freestyle. Kevin will be defending the title he won in Palembang two years ago but can expect a tough challenge from the resurgent Daniel.