Fong Ying creates history thanks to her small booklet

WUSHU exponent Chai Fong Ying’s most precious possession in Doha was a small booklet containing positive words of encouragement. And it helped her to emerge as the first Malaysian woman to win an Asian Games wushu gold medal at the Aspire Hall 3 yesterday. 

The 20-year-old from Malacca gave the Malaysian wushu team a flying start when she bagged the gold in the women’s taijiquan combined events (taijiquan and taijijian) with a total of 19.38. 

ON GUARD: Ng Shin Yii en route to winning the bronze medal in the taijiquan.

It was a double cheer for Malaysia with another Malacca-born exponent, Ng Shin Yii, taking the bronze. 

The first Malaysian gold medallists in Asiad wushu was Ho Ro Bin, who bagged the men’s nanquan title in Busan four years ago. 

Fong Ying was the ninth exponent to step out and she immediately shot to the top of the standings with a score of 9.67 in taijijian (taiji sword). She had led with a score of 9.71 in taijiquan on Monday. 

Japan’s Miyaoka Ai, who was placed second on 9.66 in taijiquan, was the only exponent capable of denying the Malaysian the gold. Miyaoka was the second last in a field of 16 exponents to perform yesterday and she earn 9.60 to take the silver with a total of 19.26. 

Shin Yii, who only switched to the taijiquan and taijijian discipline in March this year after undergoing a knee surgery, earned 9.57 for a total of 19.22. 

There were already expectations on Fong Ying to deliver a medal in the Asian Games affter she won gold in taijijian at the World Championships in Hanoi last year. And the pressure mounted when she emerged as the leader after the first day. 

Fong Ying, whose performance combined elements of grace and power, said that winning gold in her first appearance in the Asiad brought much satisfaction to her. 

“They combined both events here and getting through the two routines well was the biggest challenge. They also allow the exponents to perform their own routines and it is harder to be consistent,” said Fong Ying, who hails from Batu Berendam. 

“I was the leader after the first routine. But I did not want to think about it even though I knew I could get a medal. It’s how I handled my emotions and I think I did okay.” 

Fong Ying completely shut out wushu from her mind in the one-day break from competition on Tuesday. 

And she went to watch a movie, played a game of table tennis and surfed the internet at the Games Village. 

“I always carried a booklet along. It was given to us by our mental trainer and it helped us to develop our confidence. I read it before sleeping every night,” she added. 

The 17-year-old Shin Yii said that earning the bronze was a pleasant surprise. 

“I was formerly practising changquan (northern style boxing) and earning a medal in my first Asian Games is my biggest achievement,” said Shin Yii. 

Ang Eng Chong and Diana Bong are also good medal prospects when they step out to perform their final routines today. 

Diana is placed third in the combined three events of women’s nanquan (southern style boxing) after completing the nanquan and nangun routines. 

She had 9.50 in the nangun (cudgel) yesterday for a combined total of 18.72. China’s Mao Yaqi leads on 19.64 while Angie Tsang of Hong Kong is second on 18.89. 

Pui Fook Chien is only placed 10th after two routines in the combined three events of men’s nanquan on 18.81.