Hermana jumps back to glory
Hermana soars over the disappointment of a stumble in 2011 to grab gold
While Singapore had much joy out on the waters of Bedok Reservoir yesterday, another team in red and white had just as much reason to celebrate.
Finishing second behind Singapore in the men's and women's slalom earlier in the morning, Indonesia's waterskiers later put on one hell of a show in the jump events under the watchful eye of their chef de mission and badminton legend Taufik Hidayat.
Ade Hermana was mobbed by the Indonesian supporters and media after he made a spectacular leap to win the men's jump gold.
Failing to land well on his first jump, he nailed it in his next two attempts.
Approaching the ramp with a double cut - where he pulled wide and cut back across the water twice to generate momentum - he cleared the ramp by an impressive 46.90m, his personal best.
The Indonesians were delirious.
His compatriot, Febrianto Febrianto, who won the gold in men's tricks on Friday, settled for silver with a 33.9m leap, edging out third-placed Malaysian Alex Yoong by 0.80m.
Dripping wet, with one hand holding the national flag, Hermana told The New Paper that the victory was a sweet one. The last time waterskiing was contested at the SEA Games in 2011, the 27-year-old could manage only a bronze on home waters in Palembang.
"I had an accident (stumbling on a crucial jump) and got only the bronze medal," he explained.
But three months of intense training in the lead-up to his arrival in Singapore paid off.
"I felt confident with the double cut, it made me fast and gave the angle and direction I needed," said Hermana, who will be vying for gold in the men's overall event today.
"I am very happy to win gold for Indonesia. But we need just one more gold, we're targeting one more."
In the women's jump, Rossi Amir was also dominant, clearing 29m for Indonesia's second gold of the day.
The queen of the tricks event, 11-year-old Malaysian Aaliyah Hanifah Yoong, took silver with a jump of 20.2m while yet another Indonesian, Nur Alimah Prambodo, bagged the bronze.
With that performance, Indonesia top the waterskiing and wakeboarding medal table with three golds, six silvers and a bronze.
Singapore sit just behind them on three golds and two bronzes, with a final three golds up for grabs today.
Indonesian team manager Danny Boestami was happy his charges could contribute to the nation's haul.
"These are the medals we have been waiting for," the 51-year-old said.
"We are only in fifth place (in the overall medal standings), so everyone is looking at us."
Hit by an injury to one of their key skiers just weeks before the Games, Boestami felt that the three-gold haul was a respectable achievement.
"Actually, we didn't expect to also get the silver for the men's jump, so it was a bonus for us."
For 20-year-old Amir, who replaced her injured teammate on the women's jump roster, her leap was her personal best (PB) in the event.
She said: "Before, when I saw Aaliyah jump, I felt a little bit nervous.
"But after my first jump, I went further than her. Then I thought, okay, I must go farther than my PB."
Pausing to cheer as her compatriot Hermana made his jumps, the college student added: "It's a great day for Indonesia."