Sng clinches Singapore's first women's high jump title since 1965
Michelle clinches Singapore's first women's high jump title since 1965 after successful appeal
Tears flowed freely down her cheeks as she sang the national anthem at the Bukit Jalil Stadium yesterday.
It has been an emotional roller-coaster ride for high jumper Michelle Sng as she waited for the result of a protest lodged by Singapore officials on Thursday night.
In the end, the wait was worth it as an appeals jury awarded a joint-gold medal to Sng in the women's high jump event.
The 30-year-old Singaporean had cleared 1.83 metres with Vietnam's Duong Thi Viet Anh in the final on Thursday night.
The two athletes were initially told by an official that they would be awarded joint-gold medals after both failed to clear 1.86m.
The Straits Times reported that the official then said the competition was over and removed all markers from the track - which jumpers use to pace off the length and angle of their jump - and also the high jump bar.
Sng took off her spikes and also removed the tape from her injured knee.
I didn't really give too much thought to the gold medal... I was very pleased with my performance. High jumper michelle Sng
But another official later came over to tell the athletes that a tie was not allowed, and that there would have to be a jump-off.
Duong managed to clear 1.82m and was awarded the gold medal after Sng failed to do so.
Singapore officials then lodged a protest on Thursday night as they felt asking the athletes to do a jump-off after they had already cooled off was unfair.
Sng also could not re-tape her knee for the jump-off, as jumpers are not allowed to bring tape into the competition area.
LAST GOLD IN 1965
The last Singaporean to win the women's high jump at the biennial Games was Cheong Wai Hing in 1965, when the competition was known as the South-east Asian Peninsular (SEAP)Games.
"I didn't really give too much thought to the gold medal... I was very pleased with my performance," Sng, who holds the national record of 1.84m, told The New Paper yesterday.
"My goal was to start the competition - it was here at Bukit Jalil in 2011 where I made the decision to retire, and I hadn't returned until now, so I've come full circle.
"Anything else was a bonus. Obviously, the gold is the cherry on top."
It was also a day to remember for the Republic's women's 4x100m relay team.
The quartet of Wendy Enn, Dipna Lim-Prasad, Shanti Pereira and Nur Izlyn Zaini clocked a new national record of 44.96 seconds in the final, rewriting the previous mark of 45.51sec set at the 2015 Games by Enn, Lim-Prasad, Pereira and Smriti Menon.
Singapore finished fourth, pipped to the bronze medal by the Philippines by just 0.11sec, but the girls still hugged each other after the race, delighted with the new national mark.
Vietnam set a new Games record of 43.88sec (previous record was 44.00sec) en route to winning the gold medal, while Thailand clocked 44.62sec to take silver.
Lim-Prasad, who had set a new record in the women's 400m on Thursday, said: "It's not just about breaking the (national) record, but also going below 45sec, that's a huge milestone for us and, for that, we're all very happy.
"Track and field is mostly an individual sport so we always get very excited in team events.
"We're running for each other and the country, so you dig deeper and you run faster than you normally think you can."
It was a different story for their male counterparts, who competed in the men's 4x100m relay 15 minutes later.
The quartet of Timothee Yap, Hariz Darajit, Ariff Januri and Khairyll Amri could manage only a time of 40.93sec to finish sixth out of seven teams, ahead of Laos (41.64sec).
The national record is 39.24sec set at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
Thailand clocked 38.90sec in a new SEA Games record to win gold, while Indonesia (39.05sec) bagged the silver and the Philippines (39.11sec) took bronze.
With the exception of Yap, the other three are SEA Games debutants.
Said an emotional Yap: "The four of us gave our best - it just wasn't our day.
"Even when Ariff pulled his hamstring, he continued to run, and passed the baton to me... we will come back stronger."
Meanwhile, six-time SEA Games champion Zhang Guirong finished fourth in the women's shot put final with a 13.42m effort, well off her national mark of 18.57m.
Another Singaporean, Du Xian Hui, did not start due to medical reasons.
Indonesia's Eki Febri Ekawati won the gold with 15.39m, while Thai duo Areerat Intadis (15.33m) and Sawitri Thongchao (14.26m) took the silver and bronze respectively.
In the women's pole vault, Singapore's Rachel Yang won the bronze with a height of 3.60m.