Ice bath helps canoeist Chen win double gold
Ice bath between races helps Chen bag a golden double
For five minutes between her two kayaking finals yesterday, Stephenie Chen had to sit in a bath filled with 11 deg C water.
"Crazy," her kayak doubles partner Suzanne Seah quipped.
There was only an hour of rest after her individual K1 500m triumph, before she had to get back on the water again for the K2 500m doubles race with Seah, and the ice bath helped Chen recover enough to clinch another gold in what was nail-biting finish to the second day of canoeing at the SEA Games at the Marina Channel at Marina Barrage.
"I have the SSI (Singapore Sports Institute) to thank for that. Frankie, the's the physiologist for SSI, introduced the ice bath," Chen said.
"That really helped."
Singapore also won the K4 500m team event yesterday to bag all three gold medals on offer, adding to the two the male kayakers brought home on Saturday.
It brings Singapore's gold medal tally to five, the most they've amassed at the Games in canoeing with nine races to go today.
Chen's first race in the K1 event ended in a comfortable win. Indonesian Erni Sokoy, defending champion, started strongly, taking her lead past the halfway mark with Chen and Vietnamese Vu Thi Linh trailing just behind.
But Chen upped her pace and powered past Sokoy towards the end to clinch the gold with a time of 1min 55.531sec.
Her second race with Seah, however, was much closer.
The pair were neck and neck with Thailand's Kanokpan Suansan and Woraporn Boonyuhong, only pulling away in the final strokes to win in 1:45.951. The Thais finished 0.620 seconds behind.
Having finished behind the pair at last year's Asian Games at Incheon, South Korea, Chen and Seah were happy to have turned the tables.
"We came in seventh and they came in sixth (at the Asian Games), so it was a very nerve-wracking experience," Seah said. "It was not an easy win."
On retaining their K2 500m gold medal from 2013, Seah opined that the conditions at the Marina Channel helped.
"(In Myanmar), it was a competition of who could stay in the boat longer," she said. "Today was about who could reach the finish line faster."
Yesterday's results came as no surprise to coach Balazs Babella.
Even when the K2 doubles race went down to the wire, Babella never had any doubt.
He said: "Everything showed that we had a very good chance to win all three golds). I didn't know if it was possible but they showed me that it was."
When asked about managing Chen's two races, the 36-year-old Hungarian said: "That was the only challenging thing today, but she did an amazing job."
After months of preparation, which saw the team heading to South Africa to work on their foundations, Chen was just happy to see it end in a golden double,.
Partner Seah concurred, saying: "This time, Steph had a K1 before (our event), so I was a bit scared.
"But Steph is a superwoman so I had faith in her."