Water Polo: Last-gasp winner secures bronze for Singapore

Singapore's Chiam Kunyang attempting to score against the Australian team during their 7-6 win in the third-place play-off last night.
Singapore's Chiam Kunyang attempting to score against the Australian team during their 7-6 win in the third-place play-off last night.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Koh is toast of team while Iran take Cup by winning shoot-out against Serbia U-20

With less than a minute left on the clock and the game tied 6-6, Singapore coach Dejan Milakovic called a time-out.

In came Koh Jian Ying and within seconds, he scored to give the hosts a 7-6 win over the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the bronze medal in the Singapore Water Polo Challenge Cup (SWC).

The match-winning goal was even sweeter for the 26-year-old as it was his first after seven years with the national team.

On scoring the winning goal, the left-driver said: "I feel happy (to have scored) because I didn't really play much of the game."

Ironically, he had missed the majority of the game due to a double exclusion foul early in the first quarter.

Singapore were leading throughout the game until UNSW levelled the scores at six-all towards the end of the fourth quarter.

The Australians then went on the offensive but the local side's defence stood firm.

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  • Years Koh Jian Ying has been with the national team.

Koh's reintroduction was Milakovic's last throw of the dice.

"I told the team to calm down and play their normal game... to carry on doing what they are doing," said the 34-year-old Serb.

The result marked the national team's first taste of victory in the tournament, having narrowly lost all three round-robin matches.

Milakovic, who was appointed in February, was pleased with his charges' performance in their first competitive outing together.

The former Yugoslavian national youth player believes the timing of the victory is crucial given its proximity to the Aug 19-30 SEA Games: "This (the victory) will give them even more motivation because they finally see some results from training... they should be happy that they can play at a high level of water polo.

"If we continue in this manner of training and preparation, these boys will be even better than the performance (shown) today."

Captain Loh Zhi Zhi, 27, agreed: "We are focused on the things we can control such as our training and taking care of ourselves in the run-up to the SEA Games."

There was also drama late in the final between Iran and Serbia's Under-20 side. Four quarters could not separate both teams with the scores tied at seven a piece.

Penalties followed, with the Iranians winning the shoot-out 16-15 to claim the Cup after goalkeeper Shayan Ghasemi Daryan made the critical save.

When asked for his thoughts on the deciding penalty, he replied: "The flag of my country came to my mind and I just focused on the ball."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2017, with the headline 'Last-gasp winner for bronze'. Print Edition | Subscribe