Sock Khim's gallant run in the women's singles ended with just a silver medal, the same colour she won in 2007 in Korat, Thailand.
SINGAPORE: Table tennis player Ng Sock Khim’s fairytale run in the women’s singles has ended in heartbreak at the Singapore SEA Games.
Disappointment was written all over her face as she settled for a silver similar to what she won in 2007 in Korat, Thailand.
The Kedahan put up a valiant display, stretching Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut to the limit before losing 4-3 (11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 4-11) in the final at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
A visibly disappointed Sock Khim said: “That last set ... I just played it too fast, my timing was off and I made a lot of mistakes.
“I have regrets ... and some happiness. I’ve waited a long time to come back and I’m very happy I reached the final. I had a good chance to win the gold after 26 years, but I end up going home with just a silver.”
Sock Khim was on the threshold of ending Malaysia’s 26-year wait for a woman table tennis champion – after Leong Mee Wan’s triumph at the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1989.
The plucky Sock Khim had earlier scored a 3-2 victory over Thailand’s Nanthana Komwong – a rival she had not beaten in five previous meetings – in her last Group D match before triumphing 3-0 against Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Nga in the semi-finals.
The 31-year-old Malaysian got off to a brilliant start in the final by winning the first set. But by the third set, she found herself trailing 2-1.
Sock Khim changed strategy and turned aggressor to snatch the fourth and sixth sets to level things at 3-3.
But when it mattered most, she fluffed her lines, going down 11-4 to the Thai mixed doubles silver medallist.
The tenacious 20-year-old Thai, who had earlier in the day dumped Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, also made history by becoming the first non-Singaporean champion since 2007.
She has vowed to fight on until Malaysia host the Games in two years’ time to try and break the gold medal drought.
“As long as my knee holds up, I’ll be there in 2017,” she pledged.
Sock Khim, Ho Ying, Lee Rou You and Angeline Tang An Qi have a chance to make up for Thursday’s disappointment when the women’s team event gets under way Saturday.
FAIHAN GHANI / The Star