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Old 13th November 2011, 10:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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SEA Games: Geraldine Lee bags Singapore's first canoeing win

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...165070/1/.html

JAKARTA: It was a lung-bursting race to the finish for canoeist Geraldine Lee in the women's K1 500m at Cipule Lake on Saturday.

Lee, 24, powered home in the end in the six-woman field to clinch Singapore's second gold of the 26th SEA Games - after James Wong's win in the men's discus in Palembang - with a time of 2 minutes 02.47 seconds.

Indonesian paddler Masrifah took the silver (2:04.47sec), with Thi Duyen Nguyen of Vietnam claiming the bronze (2:04:56).

Speaking to TODAY after the medal ceremony at Cipule Lake, Karawang, Lee said: "I feel very happy and I am honoured to win a gold medal for Singapore at about the same time as a veteran like James Wong. I missed out on qualifying for the Olympic Games at the Asian (Canoe Sprint) Championships and that really motivated me to do well at this Games.

"I just gave the race everything I had and, in the last 100m, every part of my body was screaming (in pain). I was too tired to celebrate at the end."

Lee's victory was a special one for the entire family, who would no doubt have toasted her golden triumph at her elder brother's wedding dinner in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Saturday night.

Lee, who is on no-pay leave from her job as a contract executive with the Land Transport Authority, was unable to attend the wedding due to the Games.

She said: "My family was initially not so happy that I wouldn't be able to go, but I'm going to call him (brother Lee Zhi Xiang) later with the news."

Team-mates Stephenie Chen and Suzanne Seah also gave the 13-member team something to cheer about, after finishing behind Vietnam's Thi Hao Kieu and Thi Mai Nguyen (1:53.26) to clinch the silver medal in the women's K2 500m in 1 minute 53.52 seconds.

Myint Myint Than and Hnin Wai Lwin of Myamnar finished third in a time of 1 minute 53.59 seconds.

Winners of the South-east Asian Canoeing Championships (women's K4 500m), the women's team of Wilona Lee, Andrea Chen, Annabelle Ng and Lee were looking to end Day 2 of competition on a high in the event here.

A neck-and-neck race to the finish saw the 3,000 spectators lined up along the banks of Cipule Lake cheering and screaming on the local favourites, and the Indonesians on the water did not disappoint, sprinting away in the final 100m to claim the gold in 1 minute 41.00 seconds, just 0.59 second ahead of the Singaporeans.

Thailand finished third (1:42.83).

Despite the heartbreaking loss, team manager Shaun Ho gave the team credit for their six-medal haul (one gold, three silver, two bronze) - their best performance at the SEA Games with one day of the competition to go.

Said Ho: "Our target was only one gold medal ... being able to achieve this is an amazing feeling and I'm very happy. We are hoping for more medals in tomorrow's events."

Gold medalist Lee will feature in the women's K4 200m today, with Team Singapore's canoeists pencilled in for the men's K1 200m, K2 200m, and women's K1 200m, K2 200m and K4 200m on the final day of competition. - TODAY

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