SEA Games: Noah Lim wins back-to-back gold with victory in jujitsu men's U-69kg

Singapore's Noah Lim (right) reacts after defeating Malaysia’s Adam Akasyah at the SEA Games in Hanoi on May 15, 2022. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

HANOI - A gold medal at the SEA Games is a cause for celebration for most. 

Not for ju-jitsu exponent Noah Lim, who clinched his second gold medal in as many Games on Sunday (May 15) after submitting Malaysia’s Adam Akasyah in the men’s Under- 69kg final with an ankle lock. 

But, as he stood on the mat at the Dan Phuong Gymnasium, Lim was strangely subdued. 

The normally bespectacled 19-year-old later revealed to The Straits Times that he does not wear contact lenses when competing and hence stood expressionless as he could not see much else other than his opponent. 

But he also shared that he had been reflecting on his performance, which saw him winning three earlier bouts via submission.

He said: “In both my semi-final and final, my opponents were able to score first. I was thinking of that even though I won and that is why perhaps I didn’t look like I was very happy.” 

Perhaps Lim is already used to the winning feeling. At the last edition in 2019 in the Philippines, he won Singapore’s first SEA Games gold in the sport, which was making its maiden appearance.

Then, he competed in the U-62kg class before switching to the heavier category this time.

The decision to move up a weight class was a natural one for Lim, who said it was a result of getting older. He also wanted to push himself as it meant facing physically stronger opponents.

But the real challenge, he said, came from juggling his national service commitments with practice. His time as a medic with the Singapore Civil Defence Force has meant at least 50 per cent less time in training. 

Despite the obstacles, Lim has set himself a continental goal. 

In March, he was joint-fifth out of 22 competitors at the Ju-jitsu Asian Championships in Bahrain.

That allowed him to qualify for the Asian Games, which has since been postponed to next year due to Covid-19. But the delay means Lim has more time to polish his performances. 

“As soon as I am back in Singapore, I want to train and work on the mistakes I’ve made,” he said. “I know I can get much better and hopefully when the Asian Games come around, I’ll be in good form.” 

Meanwhile, Tang Yong Siang added a silver in the men’s U-56kg after going the distance with home favourite Dao Hong Son. 

Tang, a bronze medallist in sambo at the 2019 SEA Games, had been confident of a victory in his jujitsu debut but lost via a referee’s decision. 

However, he remained philosophical, saying: “Losses are better motivations than a win, so I hope I can come back stronger to win gold the next time.” 

Singapore’s ju-jitsu team, which comprised four athletes, finished with three medals in Hanoi. The other medallist was Fiona Toh, who clinched a bronze in the women’s U-62kg on Saturday.

At the 2019 Games, Singapore took home seven medals – two golds, a silver and four bronzes.

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