As we emerge flushed from Singapore’s 28th SEA Games victories — with an amazing tally of 84 golds and a total medal tally of 259! — we look back at the Singapore women athletes who made it happen.
From left: Nurul Baizura (vice-captain); Chen Huifen (vice-captain); Charmaine Soh (goal shooter); Micky Lin Qingyi (captain); Premila Hirubalan (goal defence); Kimberly Lim (wing attack); Ang Shiqi (wing defence). Image: Winston Chuang; full credits at the end of the story.
It was a close fight and the rigorous training that the Singapore team went through paid off, when they beat the Malaysia team 46-43 and added yet another gold to our national medal tally. What you might not know: These women go through a strict training regimen six days a week from 7am to 10pm, with gym and sports psychology sessions held over the weekends too.
While national swim queen Tao Li is a name most Singaporeans are familiar with — she took home four medals for 100m Butterfly, 100m Backstroke, 50m Backstroke and 50m Butterfly at the 28th SEA Games — it’s high time for you to get acquainted with the other top Singapore swimmers too.
In particular, the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay quartet (featuring Lim Xiang Qi, Quah Ting Wen, Tseng Wei Wen Rachel, Chue Mun Ee Christie May) were part of one memorable moment at the SEA Games, now immortalised online. When the sound system abruptly stopped playing the national anthem at the medal ceremony, the crowd sang out loud to the end for the winning swim team. Truly a feel-good scene to remember; watch the clip below from the 4 minute 5 second mark.
More “firsts” were made when the synchronised swimming team made history by winning Singapore's first and second ever SEA Games Gold medal in synchronised swimming at the 28th SEA Games. The Singapore team won the gold medal for two nights in a row at both the Team Free Combination and the Team Technical and Free Routine events.
Singapore's synchronised swimming team at the 28th SEA Games. Image: ST/ Caroline Chia
At the Free Routine finals, Team Malaysia’s unusual choice of waltzing to a soulful rendition of the Game of Thrones television theme song for the synchronised swimming couldn’t beat the Singapore team’s precise twirls to jazzy tune “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman. Watch their performance here.
Singapore sprinter Veronica Shanti Pereira. Image: Desmond Foo/ ST
The 18-year-old sprinter Veronica Shanti Pereira broke the national record, twice; the first during the heats and the second time during the actual 200m race at SEA Games. She bagged the gold medal for the women's 200m sprint with the time of 23.60sec, also said to be Singapore's first in 42 years since 1973, according to The Straits Times. Watch her victorious sprint here.
Shot put champion Zhang Guirong. Image: ST/ Desmond Foo
Kudos too to shot put athlete Zhang Guirong, who defended her SEA Games title by winning a gold medal again though the 37-year-old sports veteran humbly considered it a “so-so” result when she spoke to The Straits Times, explaining that she was "a bit more nervous" about competing on home ground.
Shayna Ng, Jazreel Tan and Daphne Tan. Image: ST/ Jonathan Wong
Hot favourites at the SEA Games, these Singapore bowlers brought home three gold medals for women's single (Daphne Tan), women's masters (Jazreel Tan) and the women's trios (Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan and Bernice Lim). What makes their feat even more amazing — all three gold, silver and bronze medals for the women's masters and women’s singles finals would have been awarded to Singapore bowlers, if not for a SEA Games regulation that made sure that no one national team is able to win all medals in a single event.
The Singapore women's canoe team and gold medallists (from left) Geraldine Lee, Stephanie Chen, Sarah Chen, Annabelle Ng, Suzanne Seah, and Soh Sze Ying. Image: ST/ Neo Xiaobin
The women's canoeing team did the nation proud by sweeping up five golds, which was reported by The Straits Times to be Singapore's best medal record so far at the SEA Games. Team Singapore took first place for the women's K1-200m (Sarah Chen), K1-500m (Stephenie Chen Jiexian), K2-500m (Stephenie Chen and Suzanne Seah) and K4-500m (Sarah Chen, Geraldine Lee Wei Ling, Annabelle Ng Xiang Ru and Soh Sze Ying).
Catherine Chew at the SEA Games 2015. Image: Singapore Southeast Asian Games Organising Committee (SINGSOC)
While it took just one heartbreaking second for Catherine Chew to lose the gold medal in show jumping at the finals in a narrow defeat, she did win a jumping gold with her fellow equestrians (Cheong Su-Yen, Janine Khoo Su Pheng and Predrag Marjanovic) with zero penalties at the SEA Games team event; a perfect gallop to victory.
Singapore's women's foil team (from left): Wang Wenying, Nicole Wong, Cheryl Wong and Liane Wong (behind Cheryl) celebrating after they beat Vietnam 45-26 in the SEA Games final on June 6, 2015. Image: ST/ Kevin Lim
It was a sweet victory for the women's foil team, when they beat team Vietnam by 45-26; especially when Singapore had lost to Vietnam back at SEA Games 2013. Fencer Wang Wenying also earned a gold for Singapore in the women’s individual foil event. An interesting tidbit to know: According to The Straits Times, fencing sisters Cheryl and Liane Wong both started the sport at the same time at age nine and six respectively after seeing their brother fencing.
Singapore floorball team at the 28th SEA Games. Image: ST/ Ong Wee Jin
It wasn't easy, but they did it! It was a close fight as the Singapore women's floorball team tied 3-3 with Thailand, before finally clinching the gold at the 28th SEA Games with the penalty shootout. In front of a cheering home crowd, Goalkeeper Fariza Begum saved an incredible four penalties, while Jill Quek and Natalia Wee scored the two out of five goals to win the penalty shootout.
The Singapore rhythmic gymnastics team. Image: ST/ Caroline Chia
Their teammates may have missed out on the gold medal for artistic gymnastics but this lithe quintet (Dawne Chua, Noelle Goh, Ann Sim, Edlyn Ho and Alison Tang) broke through with a first rhythmic gymnastics win for Singapore with their winning routine. Expect to see more from these young and graceful gymnasts; their 28th SEA Games appearance was their first at the biennial Games. Watch them in action:
Yukie Yokoyama (left) and Samantha Neubronner (right) at the Female 420 (Under-19) sailing event. Image: ST/ Desmond Foo
The women's sailing team won a total of six golds at the SEA Games, with high hopes set for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year. “We believe that we are the generation that will make it. The SEA Games are important but we want to look further,” said Singapore sailor Yukie Yokoyama to The Straits Times. She teamed up with Samantha Neubronner to win the Female Youth 420 event at the SEA Games. Keep your eyes peeled; we sure aren't the only ones hoping that these ambitious sailors will soon make that Olympic breakthrough!
Singapore shooter Jasmine Ser. Image: ST file photo
While the Singapore team was just one medal shy of the six gold target, it was still an extra sweet first victory for newcomer Tessa Neo. She won the 10m Air Rifle individual gold medal with confidence, adding to the five collective medal tally for the Singapore men's and women's shooting team. The women's team also bagged the gold medals for 10m Air Pistol (Teo Shun Xie) and 10m Air Rifle Team (Jasmine Ser, Tessa Neo and Martina Lindsay Veloso).
Most Singaporeans would already be familiar with top table tennis player Feng Tianwei, for her 2012 Olympic achievements, although the gold medal was not meant to be for Feng at the recent SEA Games, when she crashed out of early on in the competition. The World number four did however, bounce back from the unexpected defeat to help win the gold medals for the Women's Team event at the SEA Games.
Singapore's Yang Zi and Yu Mengyu in action against their Thai opponents Sythasini Sawettabut and Padasak Tanviriyavechakul at the 28th SEA Games mixed doubles final. Image: ST/ Desmond Foo
Singapore paddlers Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan too earned the gold medal together at the Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles (Yu Mengyu and Yang Zi). World number 13 Yu Mengyu had also secured a gold medal win with teammate Yang Zi at the Mixed Doubles finals.
Chelsea Sim at the SEA Games 2015. Image: ST/ Neo Xiaobin
Affectionately described as a petite “chili padi” by her coach, Chelsea Sim emerged victorious in first place for the Taekwondo women's individual poomsae final, beating even the poomsae world champion 2014 Rinna Babanto from the Philippines. Watch her in action.
Sasha Christian during the SEA Games waterski women's slalom final. Image: Kevin Lim
It's the second and third SEA Games gold medal for the 22-year-old Sasha Christian, who won the coveted first place in both the women's individual slalom and women's individual wakeboard category in waterski. While she almost makes it look so effortlessly easy in the photos, the waterski champ insists that it's not. The 22-year-old humbly admitted to The Straits Times that she was feeling “a little nervous” after watching the other competitors in action.
Zoe Mui at SEA Games 2015. Image: ST/ Seah Kwang Peng
At just 17-years-old, both Vera Tan and Zoe Mui have won a gold medal each in their sport, in the women's compulsory taijiquan and women's optional changquan events respectively. It was also bumper haul for Singapore's wushu team this year, who collectively bagged six golds, one silver and one bronze medal; a big jump from the one gold medal win at SEA Games in 2013.
NETBALL TEAM PHOTOGRAPHY: WINSTON CHUANG, STYLING: EVON CHNG, HAIR: NICHOLAS LIEU/CLOVER HAIR BOUTIQUE & ASH LOI/ATELIER HAIR & BEAUTY SALON, USING KENARIS, MAKEUP: BENEDICT CHOO & JACKELINE GOH, USING M.A.C. ALL CLOTHES: ROBINSONS. ALL ACCESSORIES: STYLIST'S OWN
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