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Teen Hua Wei shocks favourite for solo synchro gold


Labour of love: Malaysian Gan Hua Wei with her gold medal after winning the solo technical routine in synchronised swimming at the National Aquatics Centre in Bukit Jalil.

Labour of love: Malaysian Gan Hua Wei with her gold medal after winning the solo technical routine in synchronised swimming at the National Aquatics Centre in Bukit Jalil.

A TEENAGER, who loves listening to the violin in her free time and who was formerly into ballet, delivered a surprise gold for Malaysia in the solo technical event on the first day of the synchronised swimming competition.

Gan Hua Wei, of Seremban, was the second last performer last night and knew she had to beat Singaporean Debbie Soh’s score of 73.8253 points to snatch gold at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.

And Hua Wei did not disappoint the Malaysian supporters cheering from the stands.

Performing to the song “Torn” from the movie “High Strung”, the 18-year-old earned 73.8386 points to pit Debbie to the gold medal.

Miya Yong Hsing, also of Singapore, took bronze with 72.3769 points while Hua Wei’s elder sister, Zhen Yu, finished fourth (70.0292).

Debbie had won the solo free event with 75.000 points for Singapore’s first gold in the KL SEA Games earlier in the day.

Malaysia’s more experienced Zylane Lee Yhing Huey settled for silver with 74.7000 in the solo free event while Miya took bronze with 73.0333.

Hua Wei, who was close to tears during the medal presentation, was elated with her breakthrough in only her second SEA Games outing.

She made her debut in the Singapore Games two years ago, but only in the team event.

“I chose my song from one year ago and it was just practice, practice and more practice.

“I am happy it worked out. My sister (Zhen Yu) finished her routine earlier. After her performance, I felt more responsible to try and win the gold for Malaysia.

“I think my expression out there in the water was the best tonight.

“I am so happy. I want to thank all who came to support me tonight,” said Hua Wei, who started ballet when she was only two but stopped in 2014 after taking up synchronised swimming.

Hua Wei will partner Zylane to defend the duet technical gold medal for Malaysia today.

Zylane combined with Katrina Ann Hadi to win the event in Singapore for the contingent’s first gold medal. But Katrina retired at the beginning of 2016 and Zylane was then paired up with Hua Wei.

See our full coverage of SEA Games 2017

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