SINGAPORE: Like a bolt out of the blue, Phee Jinq En stunned the field to win the women's 100m breaststroke race at the Singapore SEA Games.
Waving her index finger after touching the board first, the Malaysian teenager announced her arrival on the regional stage with a dominant display at the OCBC Aquatics Center on Monday.
Even more impressive is the fact that the 17-year-old has never even won at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) level.
But that doesn’t bother Jinq En one jot as she held off Singapore duo Roanne Ho and Samantha Yeo to touch home with a new personal best time of 1:10.47 – and handed Malaysia their second swimming gold medal in as many nights.
Another teenager, 16-year-old Wong Fu Kang had won the men’s 100m breaststroke the previous night.
Silver went to Roanne (1:11.78) and the bronze to Samantha (1:11.87) as Malaysia’s other finalist, Christina Loh, fizzled out after the half-way mark to finish fifth.
Defending champion Christina, who is based in the United States, finished in 1:12.16 but it didn't matter as her junior shone in the discipline that Malaysia have dominated since the 2007 edition in Korat.
“We haven’t lost the women’s breaststroke event for many years ... that motivated me to go all out,” said Jinq En, who bagged three silver medals for Selangor in the Perlis Sukma last year.
“I didn’t expect this as it’s my first SEA Games. I just wanted to swim well and come away with a personal best.
Asked how it felt to finish ahead of her idol Christina, Jinq En replied: “When I turned around and saw my name up there, I was just so happy ... super happy.
“My parents came to see me and I think they're very happy too.”
Jinq En, who clocked her previous best of 1:10.75 at the Malaysian Open in March, has a chance to stamp her mark further if she can win the 50m breaststroke race on Thursday.
Five more Games records sank in the pool on Monday, with Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen smashing the oldest meet record – the men's 200m backstroke. He clocked 2:00.55 to erase the previous record of 2:00.96 set by Raymond Papa of the Philippines in 1997.
The Star Online