SEA Games: Brave Farah floors opponents to win

SEA Games: Brave Farah floors opponents to win
Malaysia’s Farah Ann Abdul Hadi on her way to winning gold in the floor exercise at the 28th Sea Games on 10 June 2015. The victory followed her fall on Tuesday in the final of the uneven bars, an event she was favoured to win.

Most wallow in self-pity after a bad day in the office but an elite athlete has no such luxury, even after a major disappointment.

Malaysian gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi fell flat on her face during Tuesday's final of the uneven bars - an event she was favoured to win - and said later that she had bawled her eyes out.

 

After finishing with the bronze, she just wanted to be left alone. Even when comforted by team-mate Tan Ing Yueh, who won the gold that Farah had coveted, she said: "I didn't want to make her feel sad because I fell.

"(It was) her happy moment."

Fuelled by resilience and determination, her own happy moment came yesterday, when she won the women's floor exercise final. Her score of 13.733 denied Vietnam a clean sweep of the day's five golds at Bishan Sports Hall.

Indonesia's Rifda Irfanalutfi (13.700) and Vietnam's Phan Thi Ha Thanh rounded off the podium (13.433).

"I was dreaming of a gold in the floor because it's one of my pet events," Farah, who ended up with a medal in each of her six events, said. "I was really nervous and told myself: There's just a little bit more (to go). And when it ended, I was so relieved."

Describing her journey from despair to ecstasy in just 24 hours, the 21-year-old said: "I couldn't snap out of it. I was so upset with myself because I wanted to deliver for my country but I couldn't do it. I felt I failed so badly."

In yesterday's men's finals, Dinh Phuong Thanh - who won a total of four golds - completed a double in the horizontal bar and parallel bars, while Le Thanh Tung was victorious in the vault.

Compatriot Phan also won the women's balance beam final.

Overall, Vietnam topped the artistic gymnastics standings with nine golds, four silvers and four bronzes. Dinh said: "There's quite a big difference between us and other opponents."

Singapore's Muhammad Jufrie Aizat won bronze in the men's horizontal bar.

The Republic have three silvers and four bronzes from the artistic gymnastics events. Competition will resume on Sunday with the rhythmic disciplines.

ocharles@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 11, 2015.
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