Asian Games bronze medallist breaks Singapore’s hearts in dramatic finish
Asian Games bronze medallist breaks Singapore's hearts with her late show
It went right down to the wire.
Singapore's women's equestrian team, leading with a combined score of 201.711 per cent in the dressage team event yesterday morning, could already see the gold medal on the horizon.
But Indonesia, lurking close behind with 196.369 per cent, had a trump card.
They had 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist Larasati Gading lined up as their fourth and final rider.
The atmosphere was tense, as the spectators and officials at the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre waited for her score following her polished performance.
Indonesia's worries turned into jubilation when the result was announced.
Gading's controlled routine earned her 72.605 per cent, which not only was the highest individual score of the event, but it was also enough to knock Singapore off their perch.
Only the best three results (out of four) from each team go into the final result, which means Indonesia's score of 206.579 per cent was enough to land them the gold medal.
SILVER FOR SINGAPORE
Singapore's riders - Caroline Chew, Catherine Oh, Natalie Tan and Soh Wei Chi - had to settle for silver, with Malaysia taking bronze (170.737 per cent).
To think the experienced Indonesian riders almost could not make it here due to logistical issues.
"A few weeks ago, we didn't even know if we were actually flying here," Larasati told the The New Paper after the victory ceremony yesterday.
"It's not common at all, other riders would train with their horses for months and go overseas and compete. It's like putting the riders on and just shoving them in."
Her teammates Alfaro Menayang and Ferry Wahyu Hadiyanto, who were both part of the gold-medal dressage team at the 2011 and 2013 SEA Games, started working with their horses just two weeks ago.
Larasati might have been the hero of her team but she wasn't entirely satisfied with the team's performance.
"It was not all smooth, we wished for better results actually," said the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) certified coach.
The late drama might have been a blow to Singapore, but the team were still proud of their performance.
"The challenge of us finishing our run quite early was that we had to wait in anticipation for everyone else, which is always quite tough," said Chew, whose 71.711 per cent is the second-best individual score of the event.
"It's nerve-wracking. I'm dashed that we missed out but, at the same time, it was a really great showing."
Her teammate Oh agreed, saying: "I think it's fine, we are not professionals.
"This is our first real team and we don't have any funding unlike the other countries."