KUCHING: When Grace Wong Xiu Mei broke the SEA Games record to clinch gold in the women’s hammer throw event last Thursday, one person who could not have been prouder was her uncle Wong Tee Kue.
Tee Kue, a five-time SEA Games gold medallist from 1991 to 2001 for the hammer throw, said it takes a lot of hard work and effort to achieve such a feat.
He believed Grace possessed the mental strength, talent and strong characteristics that would take her far.
“Grace has always had the potential to excel in her sport. She has the talent, speed and suitable body proportion of weight and height.
“She has been a fast learner ever since she took up the event and deep inside, I always felt that one day she would become a champion,” Tee Kue told The Star here.
Grace’s record-breaking feat of 59.24m at Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil on Aug 24 – an improvement over her bronze medal effort in the Singapore SEA Games two years ago – finally ended the wait for the national team to win gold in the event.
Her 59.24m was also well ahead of the old record of 56.57m set in Singapore two years ago.
“It is definitely a proud moment for us. Grace has worked hard over the years and she will only get better. Furthermore, she has the facilities and experts to guide her at Bukit Jalil.
“They will monitor her progress and look after her diet and nutrition intake,” Tee Kue, 53, said.
He added that the facilities and training for national athletes today are superior compared to his time some 20 to 30 years ago.
He recalled that some of his peers did not have enough funds to support their training, nor did they receive proper advice on diet.
Apart from Grace, Tee Kue also had a hunch that fellow Sarawakian hammer thrower Jackie Wong Siew Cheer would triumph in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
His prediction came true when Jackie grabbed gold and set a new Games record of 65.90m in the men’s hammer.
Jackie’s gold medal feat ended the country’s 16-year gold drought in the discipline since Tee Kue’s achievement in the 2001 Games, also held in Kuala Lumpur.
“I’m grateful they both won gold for Malaysia and created new records in the process,” Tee Kue said.
Tee Kue’s own best throw was 58.80m, which he achieved at the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore.
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