Asian Games: Singapore's kayakers in uncharted waters with best Asiad showing

Lucas Teo (left) and Brandon Ooi in the kayak doubles (K2) 1,000m men's final yesterday. Despite a false start due to a technical glitch, they focused on their game plan and finished just out of the medals in fourth.
Lucas Teo (left) and Brandon Ooi in the kayak doubles (K2) 1,000m men's final yesterday. Despite a false start due to a technical glitch, they focused on their game plan and finished just out of the medals in fourth.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Lucas Teo and Brandon Ooi produced Singapore's best kayaking result at the Asian Games when they finished fourth in the men's K2 1,000m final yesterday.

They had to overcome a slight hiccup, when a technical glitch caused them to go before the gun on the lake at the Jakabaring Sport City.

In the restart some five minutes later, they lagged in eighth among nine teams - but managed to finish just outside the medals in 3min 31.123sec.

China's Zhang Dong and Bu Tingkai (3:23.601) pipped Kazakhstan's Ilya Golendov and Andrey Yerguchyov (3:23.815) for the gold medal. Uzbekistan's Shakhriyor Makhkamov and Shokhrukhbek Azamov (3:26.273) were third.

"The least we were expecting at the Games was to finish sixth," said Ooi, 23, after he and Teo, 28, bettered the fifth-placed showing by the Republic's women's K4 500m team in Guangzhou 2010.

"If we were third, we'd be out there celebrating like crazy, but this is fourth, just out (of the medals). You're happy because it's better than previous results, but you're a bit (disappointed).

"It's mixed feelings."

He explained that the false start was a technical error - the blocks in front of the boats had dropped before they were supposed to - and, hence, no team were penalised.

The Singapore pair managed to stay focused on their game plan - consistent pace - to break new ground for the sport.

"I'm not surprised by how they did - I'm happy with what we achieved - this is a situation where the hard work and effort put in matched the result. If we had some luck we would have a medal," said coach Balazs Babella.

"This will be a good motivation for the others (athletes in the canoeing team) who will compete on Saturday," added the Hungarian, who declined to reveal what he envisions for the Republic's canoeing team competing in the remaining five events today and tomorrow.

The other events include today's women's K1 200m, women's C1 200m, men's K1 200m and tomorrow's K2 and K4 500m.

"I'm confident about my athletes," he said, before adding cryptically, "watch out for us, I think we still have something to show."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2018, with the headline 'Kayakers in uncharted waters with best Asiad showing'. Print Edition | Subscribe