SEA Games: S'pore foil women rejoice, epee men despair

Joy and despair emanated from the Singapore fencing camp at the OCBC Arena Hall Two last night.

The women's foil team of Wang Wenying, Cheryl Wong, Nicole Wong and Liane Wong had convincingly beaten Vietnam 45-26 in the final to clinch the second fencing gold for the Republic.

It was the perfect send-off for Wang, 34, who had clinched the first gold in the women's individual foil on Thursday, and has indicated that she does not intend to compete in future SEA Games.

"I will be passing the torch on to the younger ones," she said.

"We really prepared well for these Games. All of us fought from the first to the last point."

An elated Cheryl added: "We lost narrowly to Vietnam in the last SEA Games so this victory is especially sweet for us and all our hard work has finally paid off.

"We are definitely going to celebrate with family and friends."

But while the women's foil team can experience the joy of winning gold, the men's epee team plumbed the depths of hurt from coming up just short of achieving that goal minutes before the women fencers took to the piste.

Lim Wei Wen, Willie Khoo and Samson Lee have trained together for five years in a bid to land a SEA Games team gold, with Aloysius Low also fencing in earlier rounds.

With Khoo leaving the team after these Games to pursue his studies, there was heartbreak among them when they lost 43-44 to Vietnam in the final.

The bout was tight throughout, with the two rivals merely one point apart from each other.

In the final bout, with the score at 43-43 and with less than 10 seconds to go in sudden death, Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Nhat scored the final, crucial point against Singapore's Asian Games bronze medallist Lim.

As an overjoyed Nhat ran into the arms of his team-mates, Lim slumped to the ground in tears, as the Singapore team came up to console him.

The boisterous 400-strong crowd were also momentarily stunned by the narrow defeat, before they stood up and clapped for the efforts of the defeated Singapore team.

Lim said: "What we are really proud of is the game play we had as a team and the supporters giving us energy and motivation. The next time Vietnam face Singapore, their legs will shake and we will definitely come back stronger.

"Of course, we are disappointed, it is only one point, but we can't just give up. We are going to train for the next one and get back the (gold) at the next Games."

Khoo, who initially contemplated taking a break from fencing, is also reconsidering his decision.

He said: "If I have a chance, I definitely will want to come back. Especially after today's match when I am much more fired up."

In the men's team sabre, Singapore settled for bronze after losing to Indonesia 35-45 in the semi-finals. Vietnam clinched gold after defeating Indonesia 45-30.

This article was first published on June 7, 2015.
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