Asean Schools Games 2016

Asean Schools Games: An outing worth its weight in gold

Ong Jung Yi in action in the 4x100m medley relay final at the 8th Asean Schools Games yesterday. The team finished with a bronze but he won a gold in the 200m butterfly earlier in the day.
Ong Jung Yi in action in the 4x100m medley relay final at the 8th Asean Schools Games yesterday. The team finished with a bronze but he won a gold in the 200m butterfly earlier in the day. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

S'pore's swim team claim five golds in total, while Jordan Chia is the shot put champion

Singapore's swimmers finished their 8th Asean Schools Games (ASG) outing with a total of five golds, six silvers and 10 bronzes, after winning three golds and four bronzes on the last day of the swimming competition yesterday.

After a final-day flourish that saw the team win three gold medals, team manager Mark Ng was a happy man, especially as the team did not set a medal target.

He said: "You can see from the results that the swimmers really tried to do their best for Singapore.

"A lot of them did very well today, and we were lucky to finish with more gold medals than we expected."

Two of yesterday's three golds were claimed by captain Kevin Ong, who won the 50m backstroke and the 50m freestyle, while 15-year-old Ong Jung Yi won the 200m butterfly final.

Said 18-year-old Kevin, who posted a new personal best of 23.78sec in the 50m freestyle: "This is the first time I've cracked 24 seconds, so I'm really happy with my results.

"It's also my last ASG, so I'm honoured to be able to compete at this level."

Team-mate and fellow Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) schoolmate Jung Yi was also glad to end his maiden ASG outing with a gold medal.

"I didn't expect to do so well because I was quite worried about my competitors - I've raced against them before and they beat me the last time," said an elated Jung Yi, who added a bronze in the 4x100m medley relay yesterday.

"I wanted to win today, so I trained harder and tried a different plan for my 200 fly so that I could maximise energy."

Ng was equally proud of the way his charges interacted with fellow Asean competitors outside the pool.

He said: "I spoke to them about being part of Asean and making friends, rather than just coming to swim the event.

"And today I saw a lot of banter and exchanges between our swimmers and those from other countries - that was what I was hoping for, rather than just winning a medal."

The Republic's track and field team finished the second day of the athletics competition yesterday with a gold medal in shot put through Jordan Chia, and two silvers and four bronzes.

The ASG is 17-year-old Jordan's first competition after he fractured his finger 11/2 months before the Schools National Track and Field Championships in April.

And he did it in Chiang Mai with some style, notching a 16.83m effort to wipe out his old personal best of 15.9m.

Said the Raffles Institution student: "I really wasn't expecting it; I was just hoping to come here and post a new personal best, and maybe try for a medal.

"I didn't get a medal at last year's ASG, so that was my goal for this year."

Track and field team manager Syed Abdul Malik praised Jordan's "remarkable" feat.

"He improved with every single throw for all five throws," said Malik.

"Although the Malaysians were actually catching up at one point, Jordan really personified the values of resilience and fighting spirit."

The track and field competition ends today, and Malik believes Jordan's victory has inspired his team-mates.

"Everyone is hyped up and motivated to fight for Team Singapore," added the 48-year-old.

"I'm expecting them to do their best, and continue fighting for their country and for each other."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2016, with the headline 'An outing worth its weight in gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe