YEOH Ken Nee was unexpectedly given a tougher battle than he had expected but eventually added the 12th Sea Games gold medal to his collection when the diver won the men's 3m springboard at the National Sports Complex aquatics centre yesterday.
But the veteran of five previous Sea Games also chose to praise the gallant efforts of his understudy Muhammad Fakhrul Izzat Mohd Zain, who was only just pipped to the silver medal by Filipino Nino Carog.
"In previous years this event was always a tough fight, but today Fakhrul and the Filipino really gave me a lot of pressure. Fakhrul did really well," said Ken Nee.
Ken Nee bagged the gold with a total of 450.45 points. The race for silver was a hot one as Carog scored 429 points from his six dives, to total just 6.25 points more than 18-year-old Fakhrul.
"I just kept myself motivated by saying that no matter how, I wanted to win this event for the fifth time and that kept me going," said Ken Nee.
Having begun his Sea Games career in the 1995 Games in Chiangmai, Ken Nee bagged the 3m springboard bronze to open his medal account in Jakarta two years later.
In the Brunei Sea Games in 1999, he bagged two gold and a silver, then swept three gold and a silver in Kuala Lumpur in 2001.
Ken Nee has maintained a three-gold medal haul in every Sea Games since then, bar the 2003 Games in Vietnam, which he skipped due to academic commitments.