SINGAPORE - Five times, Majulah Singapura was played loud and proud on the speakers at the OCBC Aquatic Centre as Team Singapore's dominant SEA Games swimmers mounted the podium on Monday (June 8) night.
But at the sixth and final time of asking - during the medal ceremony for the winning 4x200m freestyle relay quartet of Quah Ting Wen, Christie Chue, Amanda Lim and Rachel Tseng - the public address system crackled and died midway through the national anthem.
Cue nervous looks among the four Singapore girls on the podium (watch the video from around the 5min mark).
The spectators in the stands, however, barely missed a beat as they rose to the occasion magnificently. Picking up from where the PA system left off, they sang even louder till the end of the national anthem.
The heartfelt rendition drew loud applause from the packed arena, with the swimmers even visibly moved, exclaiming "that was awesome!".
Quah even called it the "most memorable moment" of the Games for her so far, adding: "We talk about bringing people together, but that was the best example of sports really uniting people.
The crowd sounded so good, for a while I thought it was planned. It's a really awesome feeling, and it reminds you what you are racing for."
Led by Joseph Schooling, the swimmers bagged six out of seven golds on offer on Monday night, setting five Games records in the process.
Schooling, 19, also broke former national swimmer Ang Peng Siong's 32-year-old record in the 50 metres freestyle.
With Singapore set to dominate the pool and win close to 20 swimming titles, Majulah Singapura is expected to be heard many more times at the OCBC Aquatic Centre. But even if the PA system fails again, one can trust the partisan fans to chip in.
This article was first published on June 9, 2015.
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