SEA Games: Dragon boaters hungry for more

SEA Games: Dragon boaters hungry for more
Thailand (boat No. 3) edging out Myanmar (No. 1) by 0.206sec to clinch the gold, as Singapore (No. 4) took third place in the men’s traditional boat race six-crew 200m final. It was the hosts’ first men’s medal in the sport since 1993.

They had targeted four gold medals in these SEA Games but a men's 200m six-crew bronze was the only time Singapore's dragon boaters got on the podium at the traditional boat race events at Marina Bay yesterday.

"Competing on home soil, we definitely had higher expectations of ourselves," said team manager Derick Tan, 30, on the disappointment.

"But you still never know what will happen when we fight for it."

On a positive note, yesterday's bronze by Clement Neo, Jerry Tan, Kiang Jian Xiang, Loh Zhi Ying, Shawn Tan and Tan Chun Leng was the first by the Republic's men since a gold medal won in the 1993 edition of the Games.

And for the first time, the Singapore team trained full-time for eight months before the Games.

"I think we feel relieved that we got something, even though we desperately wanted the gold," said men's captain Loh, 22.

Despite an increased intensity in training, perhaps the disparity in results could be explained by a gulf in experience between the teams.

Vinya Seechomchuen, 35, captain of Thailand's men's team, is competing in his third SEA Games as a dragon boater. Like half his team, he also comes from a military background.

"I'm having a fun SEA Games and I'm here to win," said the navy regular, whose team claimed the men's six-crew 200m gold and 12-crew 200m silver. Similarly, the Thai women's team won a gold (200m, six-crew) and a silver (200m, 12-crew).

"Some of the other teams have definitely done full-time training for much longer. Some in our team are lacking in experience," said Singapore's head coach Naing Naing Htoo, 35, who took charge of the team last July.

Indonesia had a good showing by winning gold in the 200m 12-crew events for both the men's and women's races.

The dragon boat events conclude today and Singapore have a shot at redemption in the 500m races.


This article was first published on June 07, 2015.
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