Malaysia's rhythmic gymnasts Shasangari Sivaneswary Nagarajan (right) and Koi Sie Yan with their all-around gold medals at the Singapore SEA Games on Sunday. - S. S KANESAN/ The Star
SINGAPORE: SEA Games debutants Koi Sie Yan and Shasangari Sivaneswary Nagarajan made history together to deliver two golds in the rhythmic gymnastic individual all-around final at the Bishan Sports Hall.
No-one expected it. Not the coaches, officials and even the gymnasts themselves.
The two 16-year-olds were a class above the rest in the ball, clubs, hoop and ribbon routines to score an identical score of 60.250 points to emerge joint champions – the first time in the Games’ history that two golds were awarded to the same country in an individual event.
Thailand’s Panjarat Prawatyotin took the bronze with a 57.350 total. No silver was awarded.
“We’re so happy. It’s a miracle,” said a beaming Shasangari who came back strongly to score the highest points – 15.700 in the clubs and 15.400 in the ribbon – in the last two apparatus.
“We never expected this at all. We came here hoping to take the gold and silver, but to do it together is just out of this world.”
Sie Yan was the early leader after collecting 15.450 points in the hoop and 15.500 in the ball. But she dropped precious points after she was forced to untangle a knot in her ribbon at the start of her routine.
Sie Yan could only manage 13.600 points, but she did just enough to go joint top with Shasangari. The duo ran to each other and hugged as they knew the gold was theirs.
“Actually I was shaking just before my final routine (ribbon). I was thinking ‘Please, no knots’. And then it happened. But I tried to recover as fast as I could. I can’t believe we did it,” said Sie Yan who looked teary-eyed as she got on the podium.
Shasangari chimed in: “It’s our first year as seniors and there’s a lot of pressure on us. But when it’s competition time, you just have to forget about everything else. What matters is the apparatus and music. Then, it’s up to us to perform.”
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was there to witness the historic triumph. He was all smiles as he presented the medals to the two Malaysians.
“I congratulate both gymnasts for their extra special achievement today. Same scores and two golds. I hope this win will inspire our younger gymnasts back home,” said Muhyiddin.
In the group exercise all-around, Malaysia narrowly missed out on the gold.
Chai Xin Nong, Yap Sin Lu, Chan Mei Thung, Yap Qian Ling, Loo Shiow Yng and Thew Yue Jia managed 12.850 points in the five-ribbon event and 14.550 in the combination six clubs and two hoops for a 27.400 total to secure the silver.Singapore clinched the gold with 27.700 points. Thailand finished third with a 22.150 total.
The Star Online