A 30-MINUTE break in the toilet just before the start of the competition did the trick for Penang diver Seow Hock Mao who bagged his fourth gold medal of the Kedah Sukma at the State Aquatic Centre in Gunung Kerian yesterday.
Hock Mao came down with fever after winning the 1m springboard individual event on Sunday night. The effects of the medication made him groggy but he showed true character in not pulling out of yesterday’s competition.
Penang were banking on him to deliver another gold and the 18-year-old fought his way from behind to take the 3m springboard title with a score of 288.90.
Hock Mao thus emerged as the most outstanding male diver of the 11th Sukma.
His other victories were in the 3m springboard and 10m platform synchronised events, partnering Ang Lian Shern.
Yesterday, the 17-year-old Lian Shern also came from behind to take silver on 281.50 while early leader Pardika Indoma of Sarawak settled for bronze on 276.90.
Hock Mao, who started out on a higher degree of difficulties in the last three attempts, was able to close the gap on Pardika and even held a 10-point lead after the fifth dive.
Hock Mao later led the Penang divers to celebrate their achievement in making a clean sweep of all five gold medals at stake in the boys’ competition by jumping off from the 10m platform.
Ooi Tzer Liang, who won the 10m platform individual gold medal last week, and Hock Mao said that they were glad the sacrifices they went through in training have paid off.
“I won two bronzes in the last Sukma and I came here quietly targeting four golds. I did not tell anyone and I have achieved what I set out to do,” said Hock Mao.
“I was very worried I could not do it because I was not feeling well in the morning. I took a rest in the toilet during the break because I felt weak.
“I did not want to pull out because my parents, friends and supporters were watching. They did not come here to see me withdraw. They sacrificed a lot for me and we have waited so long to taste success.”
Penang were not the only team to enjoy a perfect end in the competition.
Sarawak made a clean sweep of all the five gold medals in the girls’ competition.
Elizabeth Jimie came out tops in the battle with her best friend and training partner, Pandelela Rinong. She won her fourth gold of the Games in the 1m springboard event yesterday.
Elizabeth finished on 248.50 points while Pandelela chalked up 211.20 for the silver. Penang’s Jeslly Yeoh took bronze on 193.25.
The 14-year-old Elizabeth won the 3m springboard individual on Sunday and partnered Pandelela to a sweep of the 3m springboard and 10m platform synchronised titles.
However, Elizabeth took silver behind Pandelela in the 10m platform individual event.