TAN Song Hwa is setting her sights on a higher goal after winning her first Sea Games women's hammer throw gold in record-breaking fashion at the National Stadium in Vientiane yesterday.
Song Hwa heaved the iron ball to a distance of 56.41m to break not just the 2005 Games record of 53.35 but also her own national record of 55.67. In fact, Song Hwa equalled her national mark with her third attempt before registering her winning throw on the fifth try.
Indonesia's Rose Herlinda took the silver with 54.12m while Rattana Suraprasert of Thailand claimed bronze with a 48.00 effort.
It was the 23-year-old Song Hwa's first gold at the Sea Games in her third appearance as she continued Malaysia's winning streak in the event from Siti Shahida Abdullah.
Song Hwa credited the now retired Siti Shahida for her success as it was her win over the latter at last year's Pahang Open that gave her the belief she could win Sea Games gold.
"I beat Siti for the first time last year, when I also broke her national record, and that performance convinced me I could win at the Sea Games. I did not win a medal in my two previous appearances so this proves that I have improved a lot. I just felt extraordinary today (yesterday), I felt like I was in the zone," said an elated Song Hwa, who is coached by Slovak Frantisek Petrovic.
With Sea Games success achieved, Pahang-born Song Hwa wants to qualify for the Asian and Commonwealth Games next year but to do so she will have to reach 61m.
"Next year, my target is to qualify for the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. I know I can reach 60m but I need to work on my technique and have more overseas competition."
Meanwhile, in the only track action involving a Malaysian, Noor Imran Hadi qualified for today's 200m final after finishing third in his heat in a time of 22.49s.
Today, Robani Hassan and Faiz Muhammad face off with Thai duo Jamras Ritthidet and Suphan Wongsriphu in a four-man race for the men's 110m hurdles gold. NST