WUSHU exponent Ho Ro Bin feared the worst when he saw that the Philippines team yesterday came a 50-member strong cheering squad armed with giant drums and cymbals.
His fears came true when he failed to retain his nanquan (southern boxing) title at the Emilio Aguinaldo College in Manila.
Ro Bin, competing in the very first event of the day, did all the right things but had to settle for silver with a score of 9.21.
The Philippines grabbed the gold through Pedro Quina, who was given a 9.30 for his routine. Sandry Liong of Indonesia took bronze with a score of 9.16.
Ro Bin, who was consoled by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said, was a disappointed man.
Deep down in my heart, I knew that I would not be able to clinch the gold even though I gave my best, said the 31-year-old Ro Bin.
CROWD-PULLERS: Malaysia’s wushu exponents (from left) Ang Eng Chong (daoshu silver medallist), Ho Ro Bin (nanquan silver) and
Lim Yew Fai (jianshu bronze) are surrounded by Filipina cheerleaders as they pose for the photographes.
It was the first event and I knew it will be almost impossible to come out tops. I beat the Filipino when I won the Asian Games title in Busan three years ago and again in the Asian Championships this year.
Ro Bins hopes of bowing out of the SEA Games on a winning note have been dashed but he believes that he is still the best in the region.
I performed well today and I feel happy about myself. I will now concentrate on the World Championships in Vietnam next month, he said.
The boisterous support made all the difference for the hosts, who bagged three of the five gold medals contested yesterday.
Ang Eng Chong bagged a second silver for Malaysia in the evenings mens daoshu (broadsword) competition. He chalked up 9.23 to finish behind Arvin Jung of the Philippines, who scored 9.30.
Aung Thi of Myanmar and Tran De Trung of Vietnam took bronze medals after both chalked up identical scores of 9.18.
Lim Yew Fai gave Malaysia a bronze in the mens jianshu (double-edged sword) with a score of 9.21.
The Philippines Willy Wang took the gold with a 9.28, ahead of Myanmars Phi Wai Phyo, who chalked up 9.23.
There is still hope for the Malaysian team to bag their first gold medal today.
Eng Chong and Wee Jung Jieh will be taking part in the mens gunshu (long stick) while Yew Fai is down for the mens qiangshu (spear) event.