The New Paper Sports desk picks its fave SEA Games moments, Latest Team Singapore News - The New Paper
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The New Paper Sports desk picks its fave SEA Games moments


Foreign moment:

She was singled out by one section of the crowd relentlessly, jeered every time she touched the ball, but there was nothing brutish about the manner of Aprilia Santini Manganang, who was the subject of the Philippines volleyball team's gender protest.

Aprilia (below) was understated and classy, going about her business on court without as much as a flinch - even affording a warm smile at post-game interviews. Genteel conduct was matched with the best possible response - turning it on in the sporting arena.

Local moment:

The Singapore hockey men may have failed to dethrone Malaysia, but they did end its 48-year, 44-game win streak at the Games with a rousing show of grit and gumption. Standing tall as the clock counted down the seconds to defeat in the final, captain Enrico Marican burst through the Malaysian defence to set up Timothy Goh's late equaliser to force a penalty shoot-out.

The sea of red (main photo) in the Sengkang stands erupted with chest-thumping ecstasy perhaps not seen since the Singapore Class of '73 actually stole the gold from Malaysia.


Fortunately, I got to witness my favourite Games moment six times in all. It was being witness to the Myanmar football fans (below) and the way they cheered their team on. Listening to them roar their national anthem in unison gave me goosebumps, and they provided a sterling example of what it means to support a team… win, lose or draw.


Seeing Thai fencer Nontapat Panchan (below) embrace Singapore's Kevin Chan after their semi-final match in the men's individual foil event. Nontapat, who won it 15-6, was Kevin's former coach and described the young Singaporean as his "little brother".


Spectators usually don't turn up for the morning swimming heats, but scores of people (below) appeared daily at the OCBC Aquatic Centre to cheer on Singapore's athletes. A particularly heartwarming sight was that of two or three young kids chanting the names of swimmers like Quah Zheng Wen. There is hope yet  that this Games can spark a stronger sports culture here.


Watching the Philippines' Katharina Lehnert (below) save four match-points to eventually prevail over Thailand's top-ranked women's tennis player Luksika Kumkhum in an exciting three-setter during the second singles tie of the women's team event.


Singapore's synchronised swimming team (below) won their first gold medal in Games history in the first week. That was the first time I heard the national anthem being played at a sporting event and witnessed Singapore's flag being raised in victory.

It gave me chills because that was the first sport I covered at this Games and I was immediately emotionally invested.


The netball final between Singapore and Malaysia had everything - a Causeway Derby, revenge that was finally served after 14 years, drama all the way, and of course, hosts Singapore winning their first gold medal (in red). I only saw the final from the media centre but I bet the OCBC Arena must have been jumping that day.


I was seated behind a group of Thai officials during the men's 4x400m track relay and their excitement was so infectious.

When their team won, finishing a split-second ahead of the Philippines quartet, the hugs and tears that flowed were priceless.


It was a short interaction, but still beautiful to watch. At the victory ceremony, a Vietnamese and Singaporean gymnasts exchanged badges on the sidelines. It happened quickly but it reminded me of what this Games is really about.


Even in a brutal sport like boxing, there is still friendly competition. After losing his light=welterweight final, Cambodia's Ratha Ven (in blue) hugged his Thai opponent Wuttichai Masuk and lifted him off the ground in celebration.


The Thai volleyball teams have a fan club who travel wherever they go, and never stop cheering. They dressed up in full costume, sang, danced and started a Kallang Wave inside OCBC Hall Arena 2. Their enthusiasm, as explained in their song, is simple: "We love Thailand, we cheer Thailand!".


Shanti Veronica Pereira's (below) 200m win is one for the ages. Unexpected given that Philippines' Kayla Richardson, the newly-crowned 100m champion, was the favourite in the race. There was never another moment at the Games where I cheered as loudly.


I was standing almost parallel to the finish line, so I watched the first half of the race on the big screen inside the stadium.

The magic began when Shanti began to pull away as she approached the end of the curve, about halfway through the race.

Somehow, Shanti seemed to go even faster in those final 80m, and the image of her crossing the line, arms outstretched, will be etched in my mind forever. I remember how my brain needed some time to register the fact I had actually witnessed her winning Singapore's first women's sprint gold medal for 42 years!

And when she went on her victory lap down the stretch in front of the grandstand, Singapore flag waving in the wind behind her, the heart swelled with pride.


It was a horrid night at the Jalan Besar Stadium, as Singapore's football team crashed out after losing to Indonesia. However, what happened afterwards was memorable. The fans stayed behind to applaud the weeping players. And coach Aide Iskandar was given a standing ovation after announcing his resignation.


Amanda Lim, who has trained locally, is still Asean's fastest women's swimmer after collecting her fourth gold in the 50m freestyle - which were all in Games record times. She deflected all the attention to her mentor David Lim, who retired after the Games. The humility and the close coach-athlete bond was especially poignant.

SEA Games