Asean Schools Games 2016

Asean Schools Games: Max powers to Singapore's first gold medal in the pool

(From left) team-mates Ong Jung Yi (silver) and Maximillian Ang (gold) with Thailand's Phubert Chankeeree (bronze) after the men's 400m individual medley at the 8th Asean Schools Games in Chiang Mai yesterday.
(From left) team-mates Ong Jung Yi (silver) and Maximillian Ang (gold) with Thailand's Phubert Chankeeree (bronze) after the men's 400m individual medley at the 8th Asean Schools Games in Chiang Mai yesterday. PHOTO COURTESY OF MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, SINGAPORE

Singapore bagged its first gold in the pool here yesterday when Maximillian Ang won the men's 400m individual medley at the 8th Asean Schools Games (ASG).

The 15-year-old swimmer finished in 4min 38.32sec, ahead of team-mate Ong Jung Yi (4:43.83min) and Thailand's Phubert Chankeeree (4:49.98min) at Chiang Mai's 700th Anniversary Sports Complex.

Although Maximillian admitted his win would have been sweeter if he had surpassed his personal best time of 4:33, he was glad to have got the ball rolling.

"I have no target for the rest of the meet, except to do my best and not stop in the pool halfway," said the Singapore Sports School student, who is pencilled in for three events today - the 100m backstroke, 200m individual medley and 200m breaststroke.

"I'll also have back-to-back events tomorrow so I'm not expecting (too) much of myself; I just hope to swim my best."

Team-mate and runner-up Jung Yi, who won a second silver medal in the 100m butterfly, was also pleased with his performance.

"My 400m race was right before the butterfly event, and I was quite tired," said the 15-year-old ASG debutant, a student at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).

"I was also worried about not (performing at) my best, but I told myself to just try my utmost so that I'd be happy with my result no matter what it is."

Singapore's swimming team won a third silver medal through 13-year-old Charity Lien, an ACS (International) student, in the 100m women's breaststroke.

Team manager Mark Ng praised the performances of the swimmers and singled out Jung Yi for his tenacity.

Said Ng: "Jung Yi rested only for the duration of one event between his two races, and the fact that he pushed through to win two silver medals is commendable.

"Our swimmers did better than yesterday, even though today's competition was fiercer - we could have closed in on a few bronzes but lost out by a touch."

Adding that the ASG is one of the best platforms for the Republic's young swimmers to benchmark themselves against their regional rivals, the 44-year-old said: "First-timers like Jung Yi can benchmark themselves against the best swimmers in Asean (nations), like the Thais and Indonesians, who are very strong.

"Doing well at the ASG will give our young swimmers positive milestones (by which) to motivate themselves, so that they continue to push themselves to do better."

As the swimming competition enters its final two days, Maximillian hopes his team-mates continue getting more medals "in different colours".

But that was not all he hoped for.

"And some more ASG mascots too, because they're so cute," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2016, with the headline 'Max powers to Singapore's first gold in the pool'. Print Edition | Subscribe