The glory's all hers alone

The glory's all hers alone
Saiyidah Aisyah credits her Games win to a training stint in Sydney where she honed her skills with Australia's national rowers and dealt with wind conditions that popped up in Myanmar.

In sport, a team-mate is akin to an extension of an athlete's body, a pillar of support, a fount of advice as well as a catchment of empathy and sympathy.

Which is why Saiyidah Aisyah spent the last week in Myanmar feeling a little out of place, especially at the Ngalike Dam, venue of the rowing competition.

While other Team Singapore athletes have at least one companion doing the same sport for company and moral support in Naypyidaw, Saiyidah is all by herself as she is the nation's lone representative in rowing.

"I would get some athletes who would come up to me and say, 'Oh, I'm so sorry that you're alone'," the 25-year-old revealed.

"But I would tell them that it doesn't affect my rowing. In fact, it just motivates me to row harder."

Well, no one is feeling sorry for Saiyidah now, after she bagged a surprise gold medal in the 2,000m women's lightweight single sculls in 8min 8.94sec.

It was Singapore's first rowing gold at the Games since 1997 when Lim Teck Yung and Toong Hui Lynn captured the lightweight double sculls title.

An overjoyed Saiyidah wore a huge grin after the race, struggling to keep her elation in check as she giggled uncontrollably while shouting "Oh my God, I won!" repeatedly.

Her surprise is understandable - after all, her golden hopes had seemed bleak at the 1,500m mark.

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