SEA Games 2017

Jowen turns gaffe to gold

Singaporean Jowen Lim performing his daoshu routine at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. He may have been last up yesterday but the 18-year-old finished first, winning the daoshu and gunshu gold with a total score of 19.37.
Singaporean Jowen Lim performing his daoshu routine at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. He may have been last up yesterday but the 18-year-old finished first, winning the daoshu and gunshu gold with a total score of 19.37.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Day after Games site prematurely lists S'pore wushu exponent as the winner, he takes title

Singapore's Jowen Lim is a daoshu and gunshu champion twice over at these SEA Games.

The 18-year-old had been proclaimed the gold medallist by the official Games website on Sunday - when only half the competition was over. The blunder took place after he topped the 11-man field with his score of 9.68 in the gunshu (cudgel) portion.

Fortunately, the teenager managed to "deliver" on his "potential" yesterday, also topping the standings in the daoshu (broadsword) portion with a 9.69 effort to total 19.37 points. That allowed him to edge out Achmad Hulaefi of Indonesia (19.35) to the gold. Malaysian Khaw Jun Lim (19.29) was third while Singaporean Yong Yi Xiang scored 19.28 to finish fourth.

It was Singapore's first wushu gold of the 29th SEA Games.

Lim's routine of blocking out all distractions reaped handsome rewards yesterday.

As the estimated 200-strong crowd at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre's Hall 5 watched the first nine exponents perform their respective daoshu routines yesterday, Lim kept his eyes away from the mat to maintain his composure.

He was the 10th and last athlete to take the stage after Vietnam's Tran Xuan Hiep defaulted.

He did not even know he had been ranked first after his daoshu score was flashed on the screen.

"I was really quite happy (when I found out), I smiled a lot. I didn't expect to win the gold medal," he said, admitting that he had also been unaware of the earlier website error.

"Usually when I'm (performing) behind my competitors I will not look at their performance... If people clap, I will be happy for them and clap also but I won't watch their routine."

This is his second SEA Games gold, and his first individual title at the biennial affair - the product of six months of intensive training.

He had won gold in the men's duel (weapons) during his Games debut in 2015, together with team-mates Lee Zhe Xuan and Jesse Colin Adalia.

Describing yesterday's gold as "extra, extra special", he also thanked his coaches and the Singapore Wushu Dragon & Lion Dance Federation for their support.

In contrast to his cool and calm approach, team-mate Zoe Mui - who bagged a bronze in the women's daoshu yesterday - admitted she was a bundle of nerves.

The 19-year-old, who had strained her medial collateral ligament (MCL) and suffered a stress fracture in her left knee last year, revealed that she had been shivering before her performance (9.64) yesterday. Felda Elvira Santoso won gold (9.67) while fellow Indonesian Monica Pransisca Sugianto took bronze (9.66).

"When I was about to go on stage, I was nervous... I had to calm my nerves so that I could perform well," she added. "I was just (telling myself), 'Don't be scared, just relax and do your usual thing.'"

Of her comeback, the 2015 Games optional changquan gold medallist added: "My mentality was that I'm starting all over again so I just wanted to do my best and show everyone out here that even though I was out for one year, I'm still as good as I used to be."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2017, with the headline 'Jowen turns gaffe to gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe