Indonesian judokas biggest winners on first day
Indonesia's team boss happy, but blames referee for missing out on fourth gold
Indonesia emerged the biggest winners after the first day of judo competitions at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games, taking home three out of the possible five gold medals, as well as one silver, at the Singapore Expo Hall 2 yesterday.
Beating Thai opponents in the gold medal matches of the men's under-66kg and under-81kg categories, the Indonesians claimed their third gold in the women's under-57kg at the expense of Singaporean hopeful Ang Xuan Yi, who had to settle for silver behind Ni Kadek Anny Padini.
Speaking to The New Paper after the medals ceremony, Indonesian team manager Brigadier-General Zaedun was delighted with the team's showing.
"We are very happy," said the 55-year-old. "We hope we will get better results tomorrow."
Already more than halfway towards their aim of five judo golds. BG Zaedun was still gutted about missing out on the men's under-73kg gold, which he blamed on poor refereeing.
Thai judoka Masayuki Terada defeated Iksan Apriyadi in that match, where there was controversy over a decision to penalise the Indonesian judoka.
As for the Singaporean judokas, they are still on track towards bettering their 2013 haul of one gold, one silver and two bronzes.
While SEA Games debutants Tan Yee Chin, 23, Lee You Ren, 18, and Walter Soh, 19, could not make it into the medals, Gary Chow claimed a bronze in the men's under-81kg category on top of Ang's silver.
A silver-medallist in the 2013 SEA Games, Chow was glad to have again added to Singapore's medal tally.
The 25-year-old said: "To me, winning a bronze medal is a consolation because I hate losing. Whenever I compete, I compete to win,
"So when I fight, I just want to do my best and if I get a medal then it is a bonus for me."
Ang was disappointed not to win the gold in front of what was a thunderous home support.
She said: "It wasn't really a tough match for me but I made a mistake, and it was a costly mistake, but you have to learn from it."
"I believe every single athlete came here to win the gold medal, but I am glad because it's the first time I am able to compete in front of my home crowd, in front of my family and friends," she added.
An ankle ligament tear had cost the 26-year-old a place in the previous SEA Games and last year's Asian Games, but Ang has finally seen her hard work at rehabilitation pay-off.
She said: "It is like my coach Khishigbayar (Buuveibaata) always said 'no pain, no die'.
"If this is something that you really want, all the other things are just excuses. Through the injury, it made me realise there is a lot of things I still wanted to achieve."
She added: "(The injury) made me want to fight harder."