28th SEA GAMES
The inclement weather yesterday morning failed to deter Singapore's men's lightweight coxless four rowing team from making history. They clinched a SEA Games silver in the 1,000m race at Marina Bay - the Republic's first medal in the event.
Syahir Ezekiel Rafa'ee, Pek Hong Kiat, Lee Zong Han and Nadzrie Hyckell Hamazah clocked 3min 5.25sec to finish behind the Indonesian quartet (3:02.28) and just ahead of the Vietnamese (3:06.60).
Said Syahir: "Initially, one of my team-mates caught a very bad stroke, causing us to be last.
"But after 500m, we caught up and we were so hungry to win that we managed to pull through."
Earlier, his sister Saiyidah Aisyah also managed a podium finish. The 2013 gold medallist in the lightweight single sculls 2,000m race earned a bronze in the 1,000m competition.
She completed the race in 3:59.01, just 0.08sec behind silver medallist Daimoi Maryam Makdalena of Indonesia.
The gold went to Phuttharaksa Neegree of Thailand (3:55.27).
An exhausted Saiyidah said she was satisfied with the bronze, adding: "I am really pleased with my race. I have never pushed so hard before. I couldn't stand after that.
"It was a very close race but I left the boat with no regrets."
Team-mates Joanna Chan and Joan Poh won a bronze in the women's pair 1,000m, finishing in 3:48.78 behind Vietnam (3:41.72) and Indonesia (3:41.79).
Singapore Rowing Association vice-president K. Gopalakrishnan believes that the Games' performance by the rowing team (one silver and three bronzes) was better than Saiyidah's lone gold showing in 2013.
He added: "We will continue with our training and talent identification. We want to create more awareness of this sport.
"It is a big challenge to find a training venue but we want to improve our existing rowers and send them to other training and improve their existing techniques."
This article was first published on June 15, 2015.
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