NAYPYIDAW- When the SEA Games swimming programme begins today at the Wunna Theikdi Swimming Pool, the pertinent question is not which country will come up tops.
But rather who among the Singapore swimmers will win in the battle of the sexes.
With a team tipped to be the strongest since 2006, Singapore’s position as ASEAN’s top swimming nation is a forgone conclusion – a reputation they have protected for close to a decade.
As such, the true contest in Myanmar will be whether Singapore’s male swimmers can finally upstage their female team-mates, after having to play second fiddle for over 20 years.
As former national swimmer and current national coach Gary Tan said: “The push for more gold medals can sometimes create a friendly rivalry among the squad.
“But, at the end of the day, it’s all for the good of Singapore.”
Singapore’s women swimmers have led the Republic’s gold rush for 22 years, thanks largely to pool queens Joscelin Yeo and Tao Li.
Not since the late 1980s have their men pipped their fairer counterparts in the battle of the sexes.
Before that, the men, propelled by David Lim and Ang Peng Siong, had amassed 28 golds over three Games (1985, 1987, 1989).