SEA Games: Noah Lim submits Thai opponent to win jiu-jitsu gold for Singapore

Noah Lim, 17, beat his opponent via submission to win Singapore's 44th gold medal at the Philippine games on Dec 9, 2019. PHOTO: SNOC

SINGAPORE - He is the son of a chess International Master, swam in his early teens, and even hurled a javelin once upon a time.

Noah Lim, 17, has since found his calling - out-grappling opponents on the mat in jiu-jitsu. On Monday (Dec 9), on the sport's SEA Games debut in New Clark City, he struck gold after he submitted Thailand's Suwijak Kuntong in the men's 62kg final with an omoplata crucifix.

The purple belt exponent told The Straits Times he had been confident, having studied his opponents before the competition.

"It feels really good to be holding the medal in my hand right now," he said. "I've trained very hard for the SEA Games. I thank God, my whole team and my whole family."

Family, said Noah, is why he got started about four years ago.

It was a combination of being inspired by watching older brother Paul train and compete while enjoying the analytical side of the martial art, which he says is down to his father Seng Hoo.

The senior Lim, Singapore's chess champion from 1975 to 1978, holds the title of International Master, one step lower than the highest rank of Grandmaster.

"To be honest I didn't really enjoy swimming," said Noah, a breaststroke specialist at the national age-group championships. "But once I picked up jiu-jitsu, I quickly became very passionate about it.

"It's similar to chess. I like to think and analyse what my opponent might do, and how to counter it."

Paul, 21, was also on the podium yesterday after he defeated Indonesia's Imam Mastur on points to claim a 69kg bronze.

There were two other Singaporean medallists yesterday.

Benjamin Chia, 21, reached the 85kg final but lost to Filipino Dean Michael Roxas, 28, after submitting to a toe-hold and settled for silver. Teh May Yong, 26, won the bronze after she submitted Indonesia's Nura Amalia, 19, with an armbar in close guard.

Singapore team manager May Ooi said: "It's very significant for our sport having someone win (gold) on the first day of competition. It really sends out a statement.

"We have a lot of talent in Singapore and to win four medals out of five athletes (in action) on the first day is great."

Four more Singaporeans will be in action today, including Asian Games 2018 silver medallist (62kg) Constance Lien.

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