Pal cheers Dipna to bronze, record

NAYPYIDAW - They were room-mates at the SEA Games Athletes' Village in Naypyidaw, and they hit it off instantly.

So, instead of basking in the glory of winning her first SEA Games gold, rower Saiyidah Aisyah spent on Tuesday afternoon at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium cheering on Singapore's track and field athletes.

In particular, the rower - who won a hard-fought battle in the morning at the Ngalike Dam - was cheering for Games Village room-mate Dipna Lim-Prasad, 22, in the 400m hurdles.

And she wore a wide grin as Lim-Prasad clinched a bronze medal in 59.96sec, and smashed her own national record of 60.36.

It was the first time since Toh So Liang's 10,000m bronze in 1993 that a Singapore woman had won a SEA Games track medal.

As a tired Lim-Prasad trudged towards the mixed media zone, she spotted Saiyidah and smiled as the rower hugged her and they took photos together.

"Yeah, we stayed together, as I had arrived earlier than the track and field team to be the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony," said the hurdler. "When the team arrived, I had to move out of her room to join the team."

To which Saiyidah joked: "Yeah, I kicked her out once she had company."

Despite smashing the national record, Lim-Prasad was displeased with her run, saying that she shuffled in some of her steps and it caused her to slow down.

"I saw the Vietnamese (silver medallist Quach Thi Lan) running past me and I was shocked, so I really pushed myself hard in the last 100m," she said.

Eventually, Thai veteran Wassana Winatho overtook Quach at the death to win in 58.85, while Quach clocked in at 58.93.

Singapore won another bronze medal on Tuesday, as Muhammad Amirudin, 26, came in third in the blue-riband men's 100m with 10.55sec - behind Thai winner Jirapong Meenapra (10.48) and Indonesia's Iswandi Iswandi (10.51).

While the 26-year-old was happy to win a medal on his third try - especially after coming close in 2009 when he missed out on the bronze by 0.01sec - he still felt he could have landed a silver.

"I stumbled a little out of the blocks and I'm only 0.04 away from second place," he said. "So that cost me a silver."

His 4x100m relay team-mate Gary Yeo, hampered by a hamstring injury, finished fifth in 10.70. In the women's 100m, 17-year-old Shanti Pereira was fourth with a time of 11.99sec.


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