Tao Li, Schooling shine

Tao Li, Schooling shine
Singapore swimmer Tao Li powering her way to the SEA Games gold medal for the women's 100m butterfly event in Naypyidaw's Wunna Theikdi Swimming Complex. She bagged another gold medal in the 100m backstroke event.

Moments before the medal-presentation ceremony on Saturday, Tao Li was kept on her feet - for a full 15 minutes - worrying if her gold in the women's 100m backstoke would be invalidated.

Vietnam, whose swimmer came in second in the race, had lodged a protest against the Singaporean, using a video shot on an iPad as evidence to show that she had surfaced after the 15m mark. Swimmers are only allowed to stay underwater for a maximum distance of 15m after the dive.

Thankfully for Tao, the protest was over-ruled and she became the first Singapore athlete to win two golds in a day at these Games. Her other one came in the 100m butterfly earlier in the evening.

Said the swimmer, who is making her fifth appearance at the biennial meet: "I didn't know if I would be disqualified.

"But I'm quite an experienced swimmer and I've been to the World Championships and Olympics. I took 17 kicks before I surfaced, like I always do, so it should have been okay."

Tao, 22, clocked 1min 2.47sec for the win with Vietnam's golden girl Nguyen Thi Anh Vien only 0.30sec behind.

Third was Thailand's Natthanan Junkrajang in 1:04.03.

The protest aside, the relieved Singaporean, who still has the 200m fly and the 4x100m medley relay to swim for, feels that the toughest part of her SEA Games campaign is over.

She explained: "I feel great because I wanted the two medals today. It's the hardest part not because of the events, but that both swims were too close together."

The 100m fly came only one event after the 100m back and that gap of only about 20 minutes showed. She was slower than her season's best of 59.07 with 59.89sec, but it was still good enough for the victory.

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