Thai canoeists enjoy late gold rush
After just one success on the first two days, a late rush sees Thailand add three more canoeing golds
As the Thai national anthem rang around the Marina Channel, kayaker Porncharus Yamprasert stood on the podium with a gold medal around her neck and tears running down her cheeks.
Her win in the women's K2 200m was clearly special for the 20-year-old university student, and the rest of the Thai canoeing contingent.
They had set a target of six gold medals, but had only won the men's K4 1,000m race going into yesterday's final day of racing.
However, the Thais enjoyed a late gold rush, snatching three wins from the nine 200m sprint events.
The men's and women's K4 crew and the women's K2 pair all pipped Singaporean canoeists on their way to victory.
In the women's K2, the Thai-Singapore rivalry came to a climax as Woraporn Boonyuhong and Kanokpan Suansan clocked 40.702 seconds to finally beat favourites and two-time defending champions Stephenie Chen and Suzanne Seah by 0.545 seconds, after losing to the Singaporean duo in Monday's 500m race.
Speaking through a translator, both Boonyuhong and Suansan were over the moon, saying: "It was quite difficult because we know the Singapore girls are always strong."
They put their upset win down to desire. "It is our inspiration," they said. "We tried very hard for four years for this day."
Singapore's Chen and Seah were disappointed that they were unable to win a third consecutive gold in the event.
Seah said: "I wouldn't say we were outclassed because we are always fighting the same Thai team.
"They beat us, but maybe the next time we will beat them back.
"The 200m is a very unpredictable race, anything can happen."
Despite the intense competition between the two pairs on the water, the rivalry does not transcend onto land.
When asked if beating the Singaporeans gave them extra satisfaction, the Thais said: "It's not any different (from winning a normal race).
"We have been competing with each other for a long time and we have a relationship."
Chen shared the sentiment.
She said: "We've raced them for as long as I remember, probably about five years. It's always been the same pair.
"You can call it a rivalry, but we are friends."