False starts can rattle the mind.
It can play all sorts of games to throw off one's concentration.
But Suzanne Seah and Stephenie Chen refused to let it affect them.
The crack Singapore canoe pair stayed calm and refocused after a false start yesterday and duly stormed to gold in the women's K2 200m at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar.
They crossed the finish line in 40.864sec at the Ngalike Dam to retain the title they won in Indonesia two years ago.
Myanmar took the silver (41.260) and Vietnam clinched the bronze (41.764).
The Singapore duo also won the K2 500m event on Thursday.
The pair of gold medals was an early birthday gift for Chen, who turns 22 on Christmas Day.
Speaking to The New Paper after the race, she said: "The false starts were something we've prepared for and we just needed to refocus."
While all the canoeists struggled with strong winds and currents on Thursday, Stephenie said the conditions were "pretty good" on Friday, with "flat and nice waters".
She added: "The wins are a nice cap to the season and a gift for the entire team - the guys trained with us and pushed us a lot and we wouldn't have done it without support from the federation.
"It was a team effort."
Singapore's rowers also claimed a silver and a bronze on Friday.
Mervyn Toh clocked 36.994 in the men's K1 200m final to finish second behind Thailand's Kasemsit Borriboonwasin.
The quartet of Stephenie, Geraldine Lee, Annabelle Ng and Sarah Chen finished third in the women's K4 200m final (38.554).
Sarah finished fifth in the women's K1 200m final in 44.040.
Friday's races marked the end of the threeday canoeing competition.
The Republic collected two golds, two silvers and two bronze medals.
In Indonesia two years ago, the canoeists had two golds, five silvers and three bronzes.
Said Stephenie: "The Games mark the end of the long season for us and we will go back and train harder for the 2015 SEA Games at home."
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