Team Singapore

Speed skater Ng's gold-medal hopes scuppered by disqualification

Going into the SEA Games, speed skater Lucas Ng was the hot favourite for all three individual events he was entered in, and for good reason.

The 28-year-old Singaporean swept all individual titles in the 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m events at January's MapleZ South-east Asian Short Track Trophy, and was expected to show similar dominance at the Empire City ice rink in Kuala Lumpur.

But Ng stumbled at the first hurdle yesterday when he was disqualified in the heats of the men's 500m short track speed skating event, after being slapped with a penalty for kicking out.

Rules stipulate that skaters must have both feet touching the ice as they cross the finish line but, in his attempt to get faster to the line after being overtaken, Ng failed to do so.

"I didn't know I got a penalty until they announced it," said a dejected Ng, who did not line up in the final of the event.

"We (the skaters) were quite compact with each other, and therefore I had to reach out to try and reach the line first, but my back leg lifted up, unknowingly.

"Personally, I'm quite disappointed. Everyone has worked hard and we definitely want to achieve a certain result, but this wasn't what I expected for myself."

Ng has no time to dwell on the setback as he eyes redemption in the 1,000m event and the men's 3,000m relay today.

"I can't undo the penalty and force myself into the race, I just have to learn to live with it," he said. "It's a new day tomorrow. Refresh, start again and, hopefully, things will go as planned for me."

Singapore did manage to win a bronze medal yesterday, courtesy of Cheyenne Goh in the women's 500m event.

She clocked 1 minute 5.581 seconds to finish third behind Malaysia's gold-medallist Anja Chong (48.44sec) and runner-up Vorravalan Leechinnaphat (53.29sec) of Thailand.

Goh will compete in the 1,000m and the women's relay today. - SHAMIR OSMAN