Figure skating: Singapore's Pagiel Sng wins gold in SEA Open Trophy in home debut

Pagiel Sng scored 115.72 for a total of 172.12  at the inaugural SEA Open Figure Skating Trophy. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SINGAPORE ICE SKATING ASSOCIATION

SINGAPORE - Spinning and jumping to the tune, My Name, Singapore's Pagiel Sng made sure the judges remembered his name with a winning free skate on the final day of competition at the inaugural SEA Open Figure Skating Trophy on Sunday.

After claiming the lead following his short programme on Saturday, the 18-year-old scored 115.72 for a total of 172.12 to clinch the senior men's gold amid loud cheers from the spectators at The Rink in JCube.

New Zealand's Douglas Gerber claimed the silver with 160.67 and Hong Kong's Adonis Wong (153.37) took the bronze.

His victory in his first competition on home soil was made even sweeter as the result also met the minimum total elements score required for the International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Colorado Springs, United States from Feb 7 to 12, 2023. He is the first Singaporean male figure skater to qualify for the event.

The teenager said he "started to overthink" before his free skate programme but his coach Robi Chalmers kept him focused on the big prize as he lapped up the support from the home crowd.

He said: "The atmosphere was electric, the cheers, the clapping, everything brought out so much emotion that I would literally feel tingles through my arms. My dad and all my skating friends were here, it did add a lot of pressure as I did not want to let them down and I wanted to make them proud.

"I feel extremely happy and relieved after I put out two good programmes. I did not expect to get the gold let alone medal but I am happy I did. It means that my hard work has paid off and that even though Singapore is a small and tropical country, we can still compete and do well."

Despite not being able to train overseas with his coach, Pagiel, who finished fifth in his SEA Games debut in the Philippines in 2019, said he had "progressed tremendously and even became the first Singaporean to attempt and land a clean quad of any kind".

He is gearing up for the Junior Grand Prix in Egna-Neumarkt, Italy in October and is aiming to qualify for the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in February 2023.

Sanctioned by the ISU and Asian Skating Union, the SEA Open Figure Skating Trophy featured 110 skaters from 12 countries, including regional rivals Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea. This is the first time that Singapore is hosting an international figure skating competition.

Park Yeon-jeong won the senior women title as Asian powerhouse South Korea claimed another three golds (junior men, advance novice boys, intermediate novice girls), while Chinese Taipei claimed two golds in the basic and advanced novice girls.

Alison Chan, president of the Singapore Ice Skating Association said on Sunday: "We congratulate Pagiel on his clean and confident skate, as well as achieving his objectives at SEA Trophy.

"We have received very positive feedback from the participating countries. We are deeply appreciative of the cooperation and support in the region to organise this competition to grow our sport and develop our skaters."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.