Tatok wins final singles to give Indonesia the gold
Tatok keeps his nerve in final singles against Thais; hosts also win table tennis gold
As the clocked ticked past 9.30pm, almost all of last night's table tennis action at the 8th Asean Para Games had been completed.
Athletes were mingling with one another, waiting to receive their hard-earned medals, while supporters jumped at the opportunity to snap pictures with their heroes.
Amidst all this, there was one final epic clash taking place on Table 2 as Indonesia and Thailand battled it out in the Men's Team Class 4-5 Finals.
After 160 minutes of an intense fight, having taken an early lead before falling behind, the Indonesian trio of Tatok Hardiyanto, Agus Sutanto and Adyos Astan clawed their way back to be crowned champions with a 3-2 victory.
It was pure jubilation as the Indonesians erupted in celebration when Tatok won his final point against Maitree Kongruang, ensuring the Indonesians retained the gold medal they won last year.
There was also an overwhelming sense of pride, as Tatok told The New Paper: "In Indonesia, they raise the flag for only two reasons.
"One, when the President visits another country and, two, when an athlete wins a gold medal.
"This is a very proud moment for us."
Much was expected of them as defending champions, although Adyos insisted having won gold before did not make the feeling any less special.
He explained: "To retain the gold medal is usually more difficult than winning it in the first place.
"It's more difficult being champions rather than contenders.
"Obviously, we're very tired but the feeling is so amazing… We're extremely happy."
There were numerous nervy moments for the Indonesians, especially when Tatok was beaten in the second rubber by Wanchai Chaiwut.
Tatok and Agus Sutanto then lost the doubles match to allow Thailand to claim a 2-1 lead.
Agus had to come from behind to beat Wanchai in the fourth rubber and bring up the decider, before Tatok held his nerve to defeat Maitree.
"I definitely felt the pressure, especially in the final match," Tatok added.
"But, with the support of my teammates, I was able to turn it around and help us win the gold."
There was also joy for the hosts at OCBC Arena Hall 1 yesterday when Singapore beat Thailand 3-1 to win the Men's Team Class 1-2 gold.
Jason Chee was the hero, winning both his singles matches and combining with Aaron Yeo to win the doubles rubber and seal victory for Singapore.
"When I served at match point and the return went out, that's when reality hit that we had won the gold medal," said Chee, moments before going up to receive his medal.
"We're very happy but we've been training so hard and this is just our hard work paying off.
"I can't wait to get up on the podium and I'll definitely be singing Majulah Singapura as loud as I can."
"In Indonesia, they raise the flag for only two reasons. One, when the President visits another country and, two, when an athlete wins a gold medal. This is a very proud moment for us."
- Tatok (being mobbed by his teammates)