NORASEELA Khalid admitted that she could not have run a better race after clinching the women's 400m hurdles gold medal with a 57.62 finish at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi yesterday.
After playing second fiddle to Thailand's Wassana Winatho for the past two years, Noraseela can be forgiven for feeling ecstatic in turning the tables on her rival.
Running in Lane 5, the Malaysian led from start to finish and held off a late challenge from Wassana, who was in Lane 4. The Thai clocked 57.78 to settle for the silver.
She is without doubt the better runner but I managed to defeat her today because she was not fit enough after suffering a minor injury recently, said Noraseela.
I took maximum opportunity from the situation and could not have asked for a better result.
Yesterday's victory was the second in the Games series for the 24-year-old Noraseela, who also took gold in the same event in Brunei in 1999. She finished second behind Wassana in the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Games.
I had hoped to post a better time but could not do so because of the chilly winds. The wind really bothered the competitors from concentrating on getting over the hurdles.
But I have no complaints as winning the gold is good enough for me, said Noraseela.
She has a personal best of 56.90 posted in the World University Games in Daewu this year while Wassana's best is 56.40.
Debutant Ngew Sin Mei's hopes of clinching a second medal in Hanoi were dashed in the long jump event.
The 20-year-old Sin Mei was well below her best and managed a distance of 5.96 for fourth place.
Her leap fell just one centimetre short of the efforts of bronze medallist Bui Thi Nhat Thanh of Vietnam.
Sin Mei, who has a personal best of 6.20m for the long jump, won the triple jump bronze medal on Sunday.
Another debutant, Fauziah Abdul Razak, had a disastrous outing in the women's 200m final. She limped out midway in the race with a muscle pull.
With another three gold medals in the bag yesterday, the Malaysian athletics squad took their tally to five and need one more on the final day of competition today to meet their target made before the Games.
Manager R. Annamalai is confident that the team will meet the target.
Malik Tobias is leading the field at the halfway stage of the decathlon while Yuan Yufang (20km walk), Wong Tee Kui (hammer) and Mohd Shahrul Hazuan (long jump) are good bets to win the gold medal as well, said Annamalai.