SEA Games: Last but not least...a gold

SEA Games: Last but not least...a gold

Singapore's decades-long streak of landing at least one SEA Games gold in wushu was in danger of being broken, going into the final minute of the final event on the final day of competition.

Valerie Wee and Vera Tan had scored 9.63 for their near-spotless routine in the women's duilian (barehand), giving them the lead in the three-team event with one pair to go.

But next up was Myanmar's Aint Mi Mi and Sandy Oo, cheered on by a delirious home crowd at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium.

It was too much to bear for the anxious Singaporean duo, who made small talk on the sidelines rather than watch their opponents' 54-second routine.

Up on the giant scoreboard, three digits were flashed - 9.53.

The hosts fell short, the streak lived on. Cue stunned silence among the locals, and delirium among Team Singapore athletes and officials.

A visibly shocked Vera and a relieved Wee were swamped in a sea of hugs and high-fives, lost for words after becoming the Republic's first athletes to win gold in Myanmar Tuesday.

"Unbelievable, amazing, torturous - that just about sums it up," said Curtin University graduate Wee, 24, flashing a mega-watt smile.

While it was the pair's first major event together, they have known each other for a while.

Five years ago, Vera signed up to be Wee's first student at the Sino Wushu Training Centre. Now 15, she still receives pep talks from her mentor, including one en route to the venue Tuesday.

"I had a bad sore throat for the last few days and nearly lost my voice," said the shy Dunman High School student.

"Valerie told me not to worry because when it's our time to perform, I'll be able to scream.

"I didn't believe her at first - but she was right."

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