Hoe doesn't let hospital stay floor medal hopes

Hoe Wah Toon of Singapore, with a dressing below his knee, defies the odds to bag a silver in the men’s floor exercise at the 28th Sea Games on 9 June 2015.

Just a month ago, gymnast Hoe Wah Toon was lying in a hospital bed, faced with a three-week layoff from the sport.

What started as a small pimple on his left knee turned into a nasty infection that required minor surgery.

Yet, Hoe, 26, never had any doubt that he would make the SEA Games.

"My leg strength was pretty much affected, my routines were unpolished because of a lack of endurance and training," said the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in the men's vault.

"It was a very tight race (to be prepared)."

But yesterday at the Bishan Sports Hall, Hoe defied the odds when he clinched the men's floor exercise silver with a 14.566 showing, just shy of the Philippines' Reyland Capellan's 14.733.

Vietnam's Pham Phuoc Hung took bronze with 14.500.

Even though he participated with a dressing draped over his wound, his performance was full of verve and vigour.

And he hopes for a final flourish on the vault today, in what could be a curtain on his competitive career at major meets.

He revealed that he is planning to take part in the World University Games in South Korea next month but this would "probably" be his last SEA Games.

And while it was Hoe's first podium finish in four attempts - after coming up empty-handed in 2005, 2007 and 2011 - his compatriot Gabriel Gan reclaimed his silver in the men's pommel horse with 14.533 points.

He was sandwiched in between Thai winner Rartchawat Kaewpanya (14.666) and Vietnam's Le Thanh Tung (13.233).

Punching his fists into the air after a breathtaking routine, the crowd suspected a gold was in the bag.

But it was not to be and Gan lamented: "I'm really happy I managed to pull off a beautiful routine but not too pleased with the result."

In the women's uneven bars final, Malaysian Farah Ann Abdul Hadi was a favourite but slipped and fell on her face.

But she said: "This is how sport is like, we have to learn from mistakes and move on."

She settled for the bronze (12.200) while compatriot Tan Ing Yueh won the gold (12.766).

The Philippines' Ava Lorein Verdeflor took the silver (12.366).

Vietnam's Phan Thi Ha Thanh won the women's vault and team-mate Dang Nam took the men's rings title.


This article was first published on June 10, 2015.
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