Jing Wen comes of age
Youngest Quah sibling wins her first SEA Games individual title and adds another relay gold
She served notice of her potential in June, when she came close to breaking Tao Li's women's 200m butterfly national record of 2min 12.63sec with a 2:12.95 effort at the Singapore National Swimming Championships.
Last month, swimmer Quah Jing Wen further showed what she is capable of when she won five golds and a silver at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.
Last night, the 16-year-old delivered on her talent at arguably her biggest stage so far, clinching her first SEA Games gold by winning the women's 200m butterfly at the National Aquatic Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
The youngest of the Quah swimming siblings - elder sister Ting Wen and elder brother Zheng Wen are also in the national team - clocked a new national record of 2:12.03 to erase Tao Li's mark of 2:12:63, set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Vietnam's Le Thi My Thao took silver with 2:14.52, while Thailand's Kittiya Patarawadee (2:15.05) finished third.
"Honestly, I was just really shocked. The 200m fly has always been a hard event for me, I have always been training for it and it's as mentally tiring as it is physically," said Jing Wen, who won a bronze in the women's 400m individual medley at the 2015 Games at home, her only event then.
"When I touched the wall, I turned around and (realised) I didn't just win the event, but I also did a personal best.
"I was just so happy. I had no thoughts in my mind."
Elder sister Ting Wen added: "My brother and I were really happy that the 200m fly was her first gold.
"This event is interesting because she trains a lot for it, but it (the results) hasn't really shown in her races until this year.
"I was in the stands watching her race and I didn't have to warm up that much (for the women's 4x100m freestyle relay), after watching her race!"
Jing Wen was the fastest qualifier from yesterday morning's heats, and lined up beside Vietnamese star Nguyen Thi Anh Vien in last night's final.
Jing Wen and Nguyen - winner of the 200m fly and seven other events in 2015 - were neck and neck in the first lap, with the 20-year-old Vietnamese 0.01sec ahead at the halfway mark.
But Jing Wen pulled away after that, and was about a body length ahead of all comers at the final turn.
Nguyen, by contrast, faded away and finished fourth in 2:16.61. Jing Wen's teammate Nicholle Toh was seventh in the same final with 2:18.69.
Jing Wen collected her second gold medal last night when she anchored Singapore to win the women's 4x100m free relay in a new Games and national record of 3:44.38.
The Republic led from start to finish, with lead swimmer Ting Wen establishing the buffer, while Amanda Lim and Natasha Ong maintained the advantage before Jing Wen powered home.
The old record of 3:45.73 was set by Ting Wen, Amanda, Lynette Lim and Mylene Ong at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos.
SEA Games debutante Natasha, 16, said: "The atmosphere was super exciting, it really got my adrenalin pumping and I was so excited to jump in and race!"
- Men's 50m back: Quah Zheng Wen (25.39, 2nd), Francis Fong (26.10, 5th)
- Men's 50m fly: Joseph Schooling (23.06, 1st), Dylan Koo (24.61, 6th)
- Men's 400m free: Pang Sheng Jun (3:54.64, 4th)
- Women's 100m back: Hoong En Qi (1:05.03, 4th)
- Women's 4x100m free relay: Quah Ting Wen, Amanda Lim, Natasha Ong, Quah Jing Wen (3:44.38, 1st)