Swimmer Quah Zheng Wen named most valuable male athlete of 2019 SEA Games

Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen celebrates after winning the men's 100m backstroke final of the swimming events at the SEA Games in Capas, the Philippines, on Dec 4, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CLARK, PHILIPPINES - Singapore swimmer Quah Zheng Wen, who won six gold and two silver medals at the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines, was given the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for male athletes on Wednesday (Dec 11).

The 23-year-old was victorious in the 100m and 200m backstroke, 200m butterfly individual events and was part of the successful relay teams in the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley at the New Clark City Aquatic Complex.

He and fellow MVP (female athlete) and swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien of Vietnam received their awards at Wednesday's closing ceremony at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium.

Vien also won six golds and two silvers in the pool.

Quah said: "It's definitely an honour to have our flag up there represented in Singapore. And I think that's what's most important. And I'm glad to be here."

Despite not winning the 100m fly final, he had pushed Olympic champion and teammate Joseph Schooling all the way to the wall and clocked a personal best of 51.87sec, just 0.03sec behind Schooling, who was the winner.

Both their times were below the Olympics A qualifying mark and has earned the Singaporean duo a spot at next year's Tokyo Games.

Quah said: "I came with the goal of trying to qualify for the Olympics, get those tickets. So honestly, getting gold, it was a priority, but it was not what I was looking for at these games.

"It was a bonus and I think it is a testament to how hard I've been training. So I'm glad for that. And I'm just happy that I accomplished what I set out to do."

Singapore finished with 53 golds at this Games and were sixth on the overall standings.

The hosts topped the medal table with 149 golds, followed by Vietnam (98), Thailand (92), Indonesia (72) and Malaysia (55).

This was the first time the Philippines had claimed the overall championship since it last hosted the biennial multi-sports competition in 2005. It claimed 113 golds then.

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