Men's archery team right on target at the SEA Games
Archers deliver Singapore's first medal at this Games with second-place finish in men's team compound event
Singapore's first medal at this SEA Games came from an unlikely source, as Ang Han Teng, Alan Lee Chung Hee and Pang Toh Jin clinched silver in the archery men's team compound event yesterday afternoon.
Seeded sixth, the trio displayed masterful marksmanship and composure when they upset third seeds Indonesia 226-225 in the quarter-finals, and then second seeds Philippines 233-227 in the semi-finals.
But the gold medal proved a bridge too far for the Singaporeans, as hosts and top seeds Malaysia (Lee Kin Lip, Juwaidi Mazuki and Zulfadhli Ruslan) prevailed with a 228-222 win in the final at the National Sports Centre in Bukit Jalil.
Lee, 42, said: "Overall, our performance today was awesome. We broke our team best score with 233 in the semi-finals, and beat two higher-ranking teams to make it to the gold-medal match. It was just a dream come true."
Pang, 33, added: "It's an honour to represent Singapore and deliver the country's first medal at this SEA Games, and the team did our utmost to achieve the silver.
"It would have been sweeter if it was a gold, but we are happy with our overall performance.
"I hope this will be the start of a good showing by Team Singapore at this Games, and that this medal will inspire and bring archery in Singapore to a higher level."
It was an even sweeter moment to savour for Ang, who not only turns 25 on Sunday, but also made it to the podium with his mother Low Luan Eng in attendance.
Archery runs in his family - Low had earlier teamed up with Christina Gunawan and Madeleine Ong in the 226-211 defeat by Vietnam in the women's team compound quarter-finals, while his brother and sister are also national archers.
"This is definitely one of the best birthday gifts I could wish for," said Ang.
"Having my mum competing alongside me is something that is indescribable. It definitely gives me a boost because I know she will always have my back.
"She actually teared when we won our semi-final match and she was really excited about it. I know she is really proud of what I did."
At the previous Games on home soil, the Republic won two bronze medals in archery, in the men's individual and team recurve events.
Chan Jing Ru was Singapore's last archery SEA Games champion, when she won the women's individual recurve at Naypyidaw 2013.
The Republic's only other gold medallist in archery is Sam Tan, who won two golds in the individual women's 70m and individual overall events at Singapore 1983.