Striking gold on 'home ground' is sweet for Gao and Li
World No. 15 Gao Ning has won many titles around the globe, including the 2012 Asian Table Tennis Championships men's doubles gold with Yang Zi, and the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold with Li Hu.
But after partnering Li to win their first South-east Asia (SEA) Games gold yesterday, the 32-year-old said: "This feels special. I have played in many competitions round the world and many SEA Games finals since 2007, but I have never done it in front of a home crowd.
"So to be able to win in front of my fellow countrymen is something I will cherish."
The Singapore No. 1 pair beat Thai Chanakarn Udomsilp and Padasak Tanviriyavechakul 11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 11-4 in the men's doubles final last night, making it two gold out of two so far for the Republic in table tennis.
After the Thais had created the first upset of this SEA Games by beating Singapore's Chen Feng and Clarence Chew 4-3 (11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 3-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4), it was left to Gao and Li to maintain the Republic's quest of sweeping all seven table tennis golds on offer.
World No. 72 Li said after the 38-minute win: "The pressure was there because we really wanted to deliver for the home fans, and we overcame all the nerves and delivered."
While the Thais threatened occasionally, the Singaporeans were always in control and sealed the deal without much fuss.
"We played a good match all-round," said Gao. "We appreciate all the support from the fans, and with the singles and team events coming up over the next few days, we want to win more golds for Singapore."