From left: Phoon Eyin, Loh Jack Chang, Chan Lu Yi and Aggie Cheah contributed medals for the wushu team at the Singapore SEA Games. – S.S KANESAN / The Star
SINGAPORE: The national wushu team are neither happy nor sad with their performance at the Singapore Games.
On one hand, they struggled to meet their two-gold target, one less than their tally at the previous meet in Myanmar in 2013. On the other hand, the juniors showed their mettle and will be medal prospects at the next SEA Games in Sarawak.
A frustrating drought in the first two days led to fears that Malaysia would leave Singapore without a single gold for the first time since the 2005 Manila Games.
But the experienced Loh Jack Chang came to the rescue to win Malaysia’s first gold in the men’s taijiquan compulsory before the youthful trio of Chan Lu Yi, Aggie Cheah and Audrey Chan struck another with a very unlikely triumph in the women’s duilian barehands - the final event on Monday.
Nonetheless, the outcome could have been much better given the depth of the Malaysian squad. The senior exponents, in particular, failed to live up to expectations.The biggest disappointment was world champions Diana Bong and Tai Cheau Xuen, who failed to extend their dominance for a fifth consecutive SEA Games in the women’s nanquan and nandao combined event. They didn’t even win any medals, finishing a dismal fourth and seventh respectively.
Two-time world champion Ho Mun Hua, a contender for the men’s nanquan and nangun combined crown, could only muster fifth placing.
In the taiji discipline, Ng Shin Yii managed just a solitary bronze in the women’s taijijian. She flopped in the taijiquan by finishing a poor seventh.
There was also no cheer from the highly-rated Phoon Eyin, who gained fame at the Myanmar Games two years ago after she won Malaysia’s 1,000th SEA Games gold.
Although there were no faults in her qiangshu and jianshu performances, she only won silver medals for both.
Calling the team’s overall performance satisfactory, head coach Lim Yew Fai said he was particularly impressed with the young guns.
“Despite settling for two silvers, Eyin has been fantastic. I thought she performed way better than she did in her debut in Myanmar.
“Aggie was another who caught my attention. She was entered for the most events, four in total, and did very well as a debutant with a gold medal and a bronze (in jianshu).
“We brought a group of exciting young talents and indeed they did not disappoint. Lu Yi (who also won silver and bronze in taijiquan compulsory and taijijian), Audrey, Loh Ying Ting, Khaw Jun Lim and Wong Weng Son have shown a lot of promise.
“They will come good in a year or two, just in time for the next SEA Games.
“We have met the two gold target nonetheless, although it didn’t come from those we targeted (the seniors), but we’ll take it. We’ll come back stronger in two years’ time in Malaysia.”
The national wushu team will now focus on the World Championships in Jakarta in November.
The Star Online