Singapore's Zhang wins shot put gold, Lim-Prasad takes 400m hurdles silver

SINGAPORE - Singaporean thrower Zhang Guirong successfully retained her SEA Games title on Wednesday in the women's shot put event, throwing a season's best of 14.60m to claim gold. News of her win came shortly after hurdler Dipna Lim-Prasad set a new national record in the women's 400m hurdles to take silver.

Zhang outperformed two Thais, finishing ahead of Sawitri Thongchao (13.62m) and Areerat Intadis (13.31m) to win her fifth title in the event, and her sixth SEA Games title overall.

Competing in her seventh SEA Games, the 37-year-old veteran thrower said after her win that while her result is a far cry from her heyday, when she set the national record of 18.57m in 2005, winning gold had always been the main aim.

"Results wise, it's so-so. Maybe I was a bit more nervous, competing at home. But I completed the mission so I'm still very happy. Preparation has been tough, and I've had to balance family, work and training. It's nothing like 10 years ago when I was a full-time athlete," said Zhang.

In the women's 400m hurdles, Lim-Prasad clocked 59.24s to eclipse her previous mark of 59.86s set in March.

The Singaporean finished behind Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Huyen, who finished in a new Games record of 56.15s, and ahead of Thai Wassana Winatho (1:01.69).

Said Lim-Prasad: "The 400m is a long sprint so it's a bit tactical, and not just about going out as fast as possible. I've been injured so I'm just counting my blessings that I was able to finish and get a strong podium finish."

Sprinter Shanti Pereira, who had set a new national record in the heats for the 200m, will also run in the finals later on Wednesday evening.

maychen@sph.com.sg

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