SINGAPORE: Look out behind… teenage swimmer Wong Fu Kang coming through!
The 16-year-old from Johor swam the race of his life to win the men's 100m breaststroke race at OCBC Aquatics Arena – in new national record time.
|National swimmer, 16-year-old Wong Fu Kang after winning the men's 100m breaststroke at the Singapore SEA Games on Sunday. - FAIHAN GHANI/ The STAR|
It’s no wonder he pumped his fists in the air immediately after looking at the scoreboard. He has just come from behind in the race to hand Malaysia their first SEA Games swimming gold medal in Singapore.
Victory seemed unlikely as the kid trailed in fourth place after the first 50 metres. But he cranked it up after the turn to touch the wall in 1:02.46 just ahead of Thailand’s Matjiu Radomyos, who clocked 1:02.63.
His new time eclipsed his own national mark of 1:02.56 set at the Malaysian Open in March. And more importantly, he became the first Malaysian male breaststroker to take gold in 14 years since Elvin Chia.
Interestingly, it was also Fu Kang who erased Elvin's national mark in the same event that had stood for 15 years.
The Phuket-based Fu Kang said he learned from the mistake he made in the 200m breaststroke final the previous night.
He led at the half-way mark but ran out of steam and finished fifth.
"I went too fast last night. I learnt my lesson and I was saving up my energy for the last 50 metres.
"I knew everyone were feeling the fatigue and I just did my best to beat them. I was so happy when I looked up and saw my name on top alongside the Malaysian flag,” said Fu Kang, who has a chance to claim a double when he swims the 50m breaststroke event on Thursday.
Malaysia also won a silver medal - in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay via Lim Ching Hwang, Daniel Bego, Welson Sim and Kevin Yeap, who finished in 7:30.13. Singapore, anchored by Incheon Asian Games gold medallist Joseph Schooling, proved too fast and won easily in 7:18.14.
United States-based Christina Loh will bid to defend her 100m breaststroke title on Monday night.
100m freestyle: 1. Joseph Schooling (Mas) 48.58 new Games rec, 2. Quah Zheng Wen (Sin) 49.91, 3. Hoang Quy Phuoc (Vie) 50.60. Selected: 7. Alwyn Tan (Mas) 51.81.
100m breaststroke: 1. Wong Fu Kang (Mas) 1:02.46, 2. Matjiur Radomyos (Tha) 1:02.63, 3. Joshua Hall (Phi) 1:02.87. Selected: 8. Shaun Yap (Mas) 1:04.97.
4x200m freestyle: 1. Singapore 7:18.14 new Games rec, 2. Malaysia 7:30.13, 3. Indonesia 7:35.63.
50m butterfly: 1. Tao Li (Sin) 26.58 new Games rec, 2. Quah Ting Wen (Sin) 27.02, 3. Jasmine Alkhaldi (Phi) 27.47.
200m backstroke: 1. Nguyen Thi Anh Vien (Vie) 2:14.12 new Games rec, 2. Yosaputra Yessy Venesia (Ina) 2:17.17, 3. Roxanne Ashley (Phi) 2:18.45.
200m individual medley: 1. Nguyen Thi Anh Vien (Vie) 2:13.53 new Games rec, 2. Pawapotako Phiangkhwan (Tha) 2:18.56, 3. Samantha Yeo (Sin) 2:18.77.