HANOI - One down, two to go. National runner Goh Chui Ling got her ambitious Hanoi SEA Games goal of winning in multiple events off to a successful start when she clinched a bronze medal in the women's 1,500m race on Saturday (May 14) morning.
Goh, 29, clocked 4mins 33.41sec to finish behind Nguyen Thi Oanh (4:14.98) and Khuat Phuong Anh (4:25.90) from the host nation on a cool morning at the My Dinh Stadium, for her first podium finish at the SEA Games in five editions.
The Singaporean was in second place for most of the race but was pipped by Khuat with 150m to go.
Still, Goh was satisfied, and told The Straits Times later that her race plan was to keep pace with the two Vietnamese runners, whom she described as "extraordinarily fast and hardworking".
She was delighted at finally finishing on the podium, and said: "I am just humbled to get bronze for Singapore this time.
"This is my fifth SEA Games, and I'm just grateful I'm one medal up. I have two more events so (it's going to be) a lot recovery, eating and sleeping for now and I'll definitely do my best in two days."
Goh will also race in the 800m event on Monday and the 10,000m two days later, as she aims for a hat-trick of medals.
The most medals won by a Singaporean track and field athlete at a single SEA Games in recent years has been three - when Zhang Guirong won one gold (shot put) and two bronzes (javelin and discus) in 2005.
Sprint great C. Kunalan won four in 1969 - three golds in the 100m, 200m and 4x400m relay, along with a 4x100m bronze.
Goh had also aimed to rewrite K. Jayamani's national record of 4:31.2 and even though she fell short, she said her podium finish was a good start to her racing season.
"After this I am definitely going for more competitions, try to break more national records and try get faster and faster, get from strength to strength as an athlete and a person," said Goh.
In the men's 200m, Reuben Rainer Lee finished fifth but he had reason to celebrate as his time of 21.07sec (pending ratification) smashed Haron Mundir’s 35-year-old national record of 21.14sec.