A Singapore team has swept nearly all the prizes at an annual international deep-sea fishing tournament held off the shores of Miri, Sarawak.
The 12 Singaporean anglers, on board their team boat Star Fish 3, and their two Malaysian boat captains took home 14 of 15 individual category prizes at the four-day Miri International Deep Sea Fishing Tournament, organised by the Miri Anglers Club.
Mr Ng Cher How, a 39-year-old police officer, won the top cash prize of RM20,000 (S$6,500) with a grouper weighing 61.68kg, while second place went to Mr Lee Keng Ho with a 49.48kg grouper. The 44-year-old senior coating engineer received RM6,000.
Ms Doreen Ang, 35, who was third with a 46.54kg grouper, also made history as the first woman to place among the top three in the tournament. The security accounts manager took home RM3,000.
Their teammates bagged the next 11 biggest catches, while a participant from China placed 15th.
They also emerged Team champions with three team members' 52.9kg winning catch of a grouper, an amberjack and a ruby snapper. They received RM5,000.
Now in its 10th year, the tournament gathered more than 120 anglers from places such as China, Hong Kong, Brunei and South Korea. It is said to be among the top tournaments for international anglers at the famed Luconia Shoals in the South China Sea.
The team set off from Miri, about 100km away from the shoals last Thursday and returned on Sunday. Speaking to The Straits Times on Monday from Miri, team captain Ivan Goh, 38, said the wins were "unexpected" as they faced several challenges at sea. "We met with bad weather, and some of us also had seasickness as the waters got quite choppy," said the fishing guide, who took the seventh spot for his 17.12kg ruby snapper.
While the team was made up of regular anglers, they had little experience with fishing in deep waters of about 200m.
Mr Goh first took part in 2015 with a friend and finished sixth. It inspired him to put together an all-Singaporean team, including his wife, Ms Ang, this year.
She started physical training about nine months ago, including lifting weights three times a week, to ensure she was fit enough.
It took some strength to reel in her 46kg catch from a depth of about 230m in about 20 minutes. She said: "I was going to be part of an all-guys team, so I told myself that I didn't want to be a burden to them."