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Singapore is favourite ground for To

Australian clinches overall men?s title of World Cup to add to YOG success here. -TNP
Lim Say Heng

Wed, Nov 14, 2012
The New Paper

SINGAPORE - He won a gold, three silvers and two bronzes at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) here two years ago.

Singapore proved to be a fertile hunting ground for Australian Kenneth To, as he claimed the overall men's title of the eight-leg Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup series at the Singapore Sports School last Sunday night.

To topped the overall leaderboard with 145 points before the local leg, the last of the series, with a 20-point lead over nearest challenger George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Hong Kong-born 20-year-old virtually sealed the overall title last Saturday, when he finished ahead of Bovell in the men's 100m individual medley (IM) to take the gold medal in their only race of the day.

Both title contenders had only one event last night - To competed in the men's 100m fly, while Bovell swam in the men's 50m free six races later.

Overall prize

To was relaxed when he spoke to The New Paper after his race, in which he finished second in 50.76 seconds, even though Bovell hadn't completed his event.

To said: "I think I've pretty much secured the overall prize for the World Cup series and I am very happy with that.

"I had a 20-point lead coming into this leg and I kind of knew that I had won after beating George in the 100m IM last night... and struggled to fall asleep."

To cause an upset in the men's overall title race, Bovell had to break a world record - which carried 20 bonus points - and rank ahead of the Australian in Singapore.

But the Trinidadian managed only a second-placed finish in the 50m free in 21.30, with American Anthony Ervin taking the gold in 20.99.

To and Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, the overall female winner, each received US$100,000 (S$123,300) for their wins.

Singapore finished the two-day event with four medals, including a silver from Tao Li in the women's 50m fly (25.78) and a bronze in the mixed 4x50m free relay last night, the first time the Republic have clinched a medal in the new event.

Samantha Yeo also set two new national short-course records in the meet. The 15-year-old clocked 32.72 in the 50m breaststroke last Saturday to rewrite the national mark of 32.75 she set in Japan last week.

She then clocked 2min 29.74sec in the 200m breaststroke last night to erase her previous mark of 2:30.14, set in August.

Backstroke specialist Rainer Ng was not among the medallists, having finished last in 2:01.26 in the men's 200m back final last night.

But the 20-year-old YOG silver medallist is satisfied with his performances in the meet.

He said: "I think I did really well for this meet because I just came back from another two legs of the series before this - Beijing and Tokyo - and my timing has been improving over these three legs."

The former national record-holder conceded that his performances since the YOG in 2010 had been "pretty mediocre", but is optimistic of a better showing next year.

Ng said: "I tore my ligament in the middle of last year and am serving national service, but I am slowly finding my way back up.

"I am finishing my NS at the end of the year and I'm getting my focus back on, so it's looking pretty good right now.

"I got one medal at the SEA (South-east Asia) Games last year, compared to three in the previous one in 2009.

"I definitely want to do my best and win as many medals for Singapore in the SEA Games next year.

"Everyone knows me as the 'silver surfer' because of my silver medal at the YOG but, hopefully, I can change that and get a gold next year."

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