PENANG: Elise Kho Ai Hwee saved hosts Malaysia the blushes by securing the nation’s only gold medal on the third day of the fifth Asean Schools Swimming Championships at the Penang International Sports Arena (PISA) here yesterday.
Singapore, meanwhile, stamped their superiority in the three-nation meet, bagging five of the eight gold medals at stake on the penultimate day of the championships. They are just two gold medals away from becoming the overall champions.
After bagging the 400m freestyle gold on Tuesday, the 16-year-old Elise completed a double in the middle distance races by winning the 800m freestyle as well yesterday.
Despite being overtaken by Thailand’s Nida Techakitteraun with just 150m to go, the SMK Chung Hwa Miri lass staged a remarkable comeback to overtake her rival at the final turn and won in 9:24.42. Nida had to be satisfied with the silver on 9:25.18.
“It feels really great to have completed a double victory in the 400m and 800m freestyle which are both my pet events.
“I started off too fast and got tired to allow Nida to overtake me with less than 200m remaining. But I managed to recover in time,” said an ecstatic Elise after the race.
Fellow Sarawakian Daniel Bego had a disappointing day by his own lofty standards. He failed to win any of the four events he contested in yesterday.
The 14-year-old was clearly tired after the herculean 1,500m battle with arch-rival Charnvudth Saengsri of Thailand in the opening race of the day.
Charnvudth, who defeated Bego in the 400m freestyle but lost in the 200m freestyle, came out tops yesterday with a new meet record of 16:07.02. The Malaysian was a distant second in 16:47.97 but still finished a pool length ahead of bronze medallist Nicholas Teo of Singapore.
Singapore lead the standings with 11 gold, three silver and five bronze medals while Thailand’s two gold medals in the boys’ 4x100m medley and 1,500m freestyle yesterday kept them in second place with 5-11-9.
Malaysia are third on 4-6-5.
50m freestyle: 1. Kenneth Cheok (Sin) 24.33, 2. Bryan Tay Zhi Rong (Sin) 24.72, 3. Daniel Bego (Mas) 24.75.
100m butterfly: 1. Ng Cheng Xun (Sin) 57.21 (meet rec), 2. Peerapon Wiriyapragob (Tha) 58.27, 3. Chatmongkon Noiaree (Tha) 58.97.
1,500m freestyle: 1. Charnvudth Saengsri (Tha) 16:07.02 (meet rec), 2. Daniel Bego (Mas) 16:47.97, 3. Nicholas Teo (Sin) 17:16.22.
4x100m medley: 1. Thailand 4:02.11 (meet rec), 2. Singapore 4:02.30s, 3. Malaysia 4:11.07s.
50m freestyle: 1. Jacqueline Lim Kim Tor (Sin) 27.31 (meet rec), 2. Chu Lai Kwan (Mas) 27.72, 3. Tassamol Petchsangroj (Tha) 27.78.
100m butterfly: 1. Melissa Wong (Sin) 1:07.45, 2. Marellyn Liew (Mas) 1:07.97, 3. Jiratida Phinyosophon (Tha) 1:09.00.
800m freestyle: 1. Elise Kho Ai Hwee (Mas) 9:24.42, 2. Nida Techakitteraun (Tha) 9:25.18, 3. Malinee Watcharayothi (Tha) 9:36.50.
4x100m medley: 1. Singapore 4:27.82 (meet rec), 2. Thailand 4:37.57, 3. Malaysia 4:37.85.