HANOI - While athletes’ athletic capabilities diminish with age, 27-year-old Ang Chen Xiang is getting better as he gets older.
And as he broke the national record for the ninth time in his career on Monday (May 16), he was finally rewarded with a silver medal in the SEA Games 110m hurdles.
Taking part in his fourth Games, the national hurdler clocked 13.94sec at the My Dinh Stadium to finish second behind the Philippines’ Clinton Kingsley Bautista, who won gold in 13.78sec.
Ang shaved 0.03sec off his national record, which he had set at the Singapore National Track & Field Championships in January.
Thailand’s Nathaphon Dansung was third in 13.99sec while Ang’s teammate Chong Wei Guan finished last in 14.95sec.
This was Singapore’s first medal at the event since Pasupathy Parameswaran clinched bronze at the 1989 Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Said Ang: “It’s a recognition of the hard work in the last 10 years. Hurdles is an event where an athlete matures later and all my hard work over the years has finally paid off.
“It’s my fourth SEA Games and I am glad I am able to finally bring back a medal. It was about time we medalled in this event.”
In January, Ang rewrote his record twice in slightly more than a week as he went under 14sec for the first time.
He had first broken the record at the 77th Singapore Open Track and Field Championships in 2015.
In the last seven years, as Ang’s timings fluctuated, he said he did have doubts but was pleased to have pushed through.
Said Ang: “This is the fruit of my labour. Not every athlete gets to taste it and I once wondered if I was on the right track.
“This is the ninth time I have broken the national record and it really tracks the journey I have been through. That is the athlete’s life. It’s not linear and there are ups and downs.”
Singapore also ended the wait for a medal in the men’s 4x100m as Marc Louis, 19, Mark Lee, 18, Joshua Chua, 22, and Ian Koe, 23, won a bronze in 39.44sec on their debut.
It was Singapore’s first medal at the event since 2015 when Gary Yeo, Calvin Kang, Amirudin Jamal and Lee Cheng Wei clinched a silver medal and set a national record of 39.24sec in the process.
Thailand won gold in 38.58sec while Malaysia was second (39.09sec).
Chua said the feeling was “liberating”, adding: “We knew we were capable of winning a medal. We are still a young team and hopefully next year we can do even better.”
Their coach Luis Cunha was pleased for his charges.
Cunha, who had also coached the 2015 relay team, said: “The timing speaks for itself. Since 2015, we haven’t been able to medal. This team is only going to get better because they are all so young. I cannot ask for more.”
In the women’s 100m hurdles final, Nur Izlyn Zaini lowered her national record by 0.01sec after she clocked 13.87sec to finish fifth out of six competitors. Vietnam’s Nguyen Bui Thi won the gold medal in 13.51sec.
Izlyn, 24, was the bronze medallist in this event for the past two Games.
In the women’s discus throw final, Jasmin Phua finished fifth out of six with an effort of 44.42m.
In the women’s 800m, Goh Chui Ling clocked 2min 11.79sec to finish fourth out of six runners. She had clinched a bronze medal in the 1,500m last Saturday and will run her final event – the 10,000m – on Tuesday.
After three days of track and field competition, Singapore has six medals – one gold, two silvers and three bronzes.