Wushu's class of '93 almost matched

Wushu's class of '93 almost matched
Singapore captain Lee Tze Yuan, who posted a 9.71 score to top the men’s optional taijiquan event, at the 28th Sea Games on 8 June 2015.

Till now, the local wushu fraternity still talk fondly of the Class of 1993.

Then, Singapore's exponents lit up the SEA Games with seven golds, igniting a wave of popularity in the sport which eventually waned in the 2000s.

Over the past three days of the 2015 Games, however, wushu has propelled itself back into the spotlight, as the Republic's athletes thrilled the crowd at the Singapore Expo Hall 2 with a haul of six golds, three silvers and three bronzes.

It is a huge improvement from the past few Games editions, which provided only a gold medal each, as wushu struggled to replicate its achievements in the 1990s.

But, yesterday, team captain Lee Tze Yuan continued the gold rush of the past two days, with a 9.71 score to top the men's optional taijiquan event.

In the evening, the trio of Fung Jin Jie, Tan Xiang Tian and Tay Wei Sheng added gloss to the tally with their triumph in the barehand duilian event.

Lee said: "I am very proud of the team, we have become a tightly-bonded team and grown a lot together.

"I am a bit disappointed to have come so close to matching the seven-gold achievement but the Class of 1993 were a legendary batch.

"So to come even close to matching them is a very big step for us."

He also lauded his team-mates' sacrifices, with some members even spending last Christmas and Chinese New Year away from their loved ones because they were training in China.

Lee added: "We stand up for the moment the National Anthem is played, and when the anthem is over, life goes on for all of us."

The team are hoping that their rich harvest can bring about another surge of interest in the sport, just like the Class of 1993 did.

Sitoh Yih Pin, vice-president of the Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation, paid tribute to the team's efforts in making the breakthrough, and also credited the home-crowd support in making a difference.

The MP for Potong Pasir added: "With the current competition in the regional wushu scene being stiffer, achieving this result is remarkable.

"Most of the exponents in this batch are actually quite young and we also have a promising crop of youth athletes coming through at school level.

"The future looks bright."


This article was first published on June 9, 2015.
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