National fencer Wang Wenying could hardly keep the emotion out of her voice, when she spoke to the media after her semi-final victory in the women's foil individual event yesterday.
"I'm happy as this will be my first individual medal," said Wang.
"I'm very happy and excited, but I must control and be calm for the final."
And calm she was, as the 34-year-old went on to defeat Justine Gail Tinio of the Philippines 15-7 in the final to clinch fencing's first gold medal of the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games.
Sharing an emotional hug with coach Simon Senft after her win, Wang's first words were: "I'm very happy.
"It's my first individual SEA Games medal and I did it - I got a gold."
Wang had contested in the 2007 and 2011 editions of the SEA Games, but did not win an individual medal until now.
Revealing that this Games would probably be her last, she added: "I had been very nervous the last time I competed in the SEA Games, but this time I just kept reminding myself to keep calm.
"This win really means a lot to me."
Wang's victory at the OCBC Arena makes her only the second Singaporean to win an individual fencing SEA Games gold.
The first was claimed by Choy Fong Leng in the women's individual epee event at the 1989 Games in Malaysia.
Singapore's last gold medal in fencing came at the 2007 SEA Games in Korat from the quartet of Wang, Ruth Ng, Tay Yu Ling and Serene Ser in the women's foil team event.
Wang's opponent, Tinio, who made her SEA Games debut yesterday, reckoned it was nerves that caused her loss.
"I was a bit scared, but also excited as I didn't expect to reach the final," said Tinio.
"I was really nervous because she's good, and I think that really affected my performance."
Nevertheless, the 19-year-old, who will compete in the women's foil team event on Saturday, has learnt valuable lessons from yesterday's final.
"Next time I'll be more focused and pray before my match," said Tinio, who will be aiming to win gold in the women's team event.
"My team and I will just train really hard and make sure we keep our focus."
Wang will also be competing in Saturday's women's foil team event, and she is confident she and her teammates will deliver.
"My teammates are all well prepared," she said. "We know the team event won't be too easy, but we'll fight all the way."
Wang, who coaches at fencing academy Absolute Fencing, is the only Singaporean finalist who won gold yesterday.
Her male counterparts Lim Wei Wen and Choy Yu Yong each clinched a silver medal in the men's epee individual and men's sabre individual events respectively, while Samson Lee won the joint-bronze medal in the epee individual event with Thailand's Chamcharern Panthawit.
This article was first published on June 4, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.