NAYPYIDAW - Caroline Chew, who is a member of the Singapore dressage team here at the 27th South-east Asia (SEA) Games, described it as one of those "bucket-list moments".
She was one of four Singaporean athletes who collected their medals from Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi last Friday at the Wunna Theikdi Equestrian Field.
"It was such an honour to receive our medals from her and she was very kind," said Chew, who was part of the quartet who won bronze in the team dressage event.
"You would think a busy and important person like her would just want to get on with the programme, but she had time and something to say to everyone.
"We won bronze and she presented medals to us first. When she saw that we were the only medallists with girls on the team, she told me she had hoped we would win."
Suu Kyi was there on the second day of the equestrian competition, where she watched her own horse Myanma A-Hla, or "The Beauty of Myanmar", compete.
The stallion was reportedly presented to her by a riding club linked to a Burmese business group YKKO, which is part of the Myanmar Equestrian Federation.
As athletes were not allowed to bring in their own horses, about 80 animals - a mix from Myanmar and Australia - participate in the week-long competition that includes dressage, endurance and show jumping events.
In a random draw, Cambodian jockey Puthminea Sor won the honour of riding Myanma A-Hla in the team dressage competition last Friday.
Indonesia won the event, with hosts Myanmar taking second and the Singapore quartet of Predrag Marjanovic, Natalie Pinruo Tan, Catherine Oh and Chew finishing third.
Chew, a 21-year-old who reads law at the University of Bristol, said: "It was very exciting before the race because there were rumours that Aung San Suu Kyi would be attending as her horse would be competing... "I had studied the development of the political movement in Myanmar for my A-level history syllabus and learnt how she championed democracy in this country.
"So this was definitely a bucket-list moment and an inspiration to meet her in person."
- DAVID LEE
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