For too long the Singapore men's gymnastic team have lived in the shadow of their female colleagues.
While the latter are widely regarded as one of the region's best gymnastics teams, the men have found success hard to come by. But at the Bishan Sports Hall yesterday, the men finally proved that they too can be relied on to bring in the medals.
The team of Gabriel Gan, Timothy Tay, Muhammad Jufrie Aizat, Terry Tay, Gregory Gan and Hoe Wah Toon became the first Singapore men's gymnastics team to clinch a medal at the SEA Games, taking bronze behind Thailand and winners Vietnam.
It would have been a more brilliant achievement had they closed a 0.05-point gap with the Thais, who totalled 318.150 points over six challenges - floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar.
But the home side were still happy with their performance as their points total was their highest so far.
"It was a big breakthrough for all of us," said Tay. "All the sacrifices we made feel worthwhile today."
But the bigger stars were Vietnam, who not only retained their artistic gymnastics men's team title but also gave a world-class showing of 344.700 points. The score would have placed them among the top 12 in the Olympics.
Said Vietnam's top gymnast on the day Pham Phuoc Hung, 26, who had the best all-around score of 86.900 points: "I'm very happy with the win because we've never achieved such high scores before."
Vietnam, who dominated with 12 golds the last time gymnastics featured at a SEA Games in 2011, are again expected to rule the sport.
But Singapore are also keen to add to the bronze.
Hoe, a vault medal hopeful, finished eighth and fifth for floor and vault respectively in the team event yesterday and will be competing in the two individual event finals on Tuesday and Wednesday.
For 2011 men's apparatus silver medallist Gabriel Gan, who finished fourth and seventh for pommel horse and all-around yesterday, he is expecting a medal from the pommel horse individual event on Tuesday.
Said Hoe: "On the day of the finals, it really depends on who performs better.
"Everyone has a fair chance on that day."
This article was first published on June 07, 2015.
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