Tao Li: A gold to cherish

Tao Li: A gold to cherish
(From far left) Quah Ting Wen, Roanne Ho, Amanda Lim and Tao Li won the 28th SEA Games, Swimming Women's 4x100m Medley Relay at OCBC Aquatic Centre on 10 June 2015.
PHOTO: TNP

Before last night, Tao Li had already helped Singapore win five consecutive SEA Games women's 4x100 medley relay gold medals.

The nation's winning streak started in 2003, and the Singapore Sports School graduate had been a winner in this event since 2005.

 

But the hosts' victory last night, in a new Games record of 4min 8.72sec, would be one of the victories that the 25-year-old cherishes the most.

She said: "As I grow older, each race becomes more and more difficult. But I am still holding my own, at a time where many people think I can't do it any more, when people think that I am going to retire, when there has been a lot of questions and doubts.

"But I have proven that I can do it, and I am not going to retire yet, even though I am going to focus on my studies, since swimming

can't be my entire life. I am going to swim the 50m fly in the next Asian Games (in 2018)."

Singapore's winning run in this event had never been in doubt from the start, with Tao Li giving them the advantage in the backstroke leg.

Roanne Ho and Quah Ting Wen kept that lead in the breaststroke and butterfly legs respectively, before Amanda Lim brought the race home in the freestyle.

Quah, who was in the 2007, 2009 and 2013 winning teams, said: "It was just all of us coming together to give our best, and to work together as a team. We didn't have a strategy, other than to have safe relay exchanges, because we have seen other teams getting disqualified for it."

Singapore's swimmers have claimed 19 golds, 10 silvers and five bronzes, including all five relays, and are aiming to win the last one - the men's 4x100m medley relay today.

The historic mark of 21 swimming golds - achieved at home in 1973 - is also within sight, even though performances may be dropping due to fatigue from five days of intense racing.

But Lim, 22, said: "It's Day 5 and everyone is tired, not just us. We'll try to keep each other's spirits up and just encourage each other.

"We want to end the last day with a bang. We are going to keep going."

Meanwhile, Team Singapore have won a total of 175 medals as of yesterday, surpassing the previous best of 164 set in 1993.


This article was first published on June 11, 2015.
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