SINGAPORE: It was teammate versus teammate, roommate versus roommate in the women’s individual foil finals on Tuesday (Dec 3) as Amita Berthier beat Maxine Wong to win gold.
In the end, it was Berthier, the more experienced of the two, that clinched victory, retaining her title from the 2017 SEA Games.
Braving a left ankle sprain from earlier in the day, Berthier displayed the mental resilience of a champion, rattling off six consecutive points to clinch gold after trailing 9-10.
“Initially I didn’t start off the match great. I was wondering what should I do - what’s going to be right, what’s going to be wrong,” Berthier told reporters after the match, an ice pack strapped to her ankle.
“My attacks weren’t working because she managed to get my blade. Eventually I started being more defensive, moving more. And then I started scoring more so I stuck to that routine and it worked out for me.”
Her injury sustained during a warm-up session also meant Berthier had other concerns during the final.
“When I get injured, sometimes I’m not as confident to do my attacks 100 per cent because I’m afraid I’m going to land wrong and hurt my ankle,” Berthier explained.
”But the other part of me is like, 'just give 100 per cent'. If you believe in yourself, you’re going to land properly. Just a lot of positive thinking.”
Berthier had beaten Philippines’ Samantha Catantan 15-9 in the semifinals, while Wong beat Vietnam’s Do Thi Anh 15-13.
“We were hoping that we would meet in the finals. And I think it managed to work out well,” said Berthier.
“We didn’t want to meet each other in the beginning of the competition. We wanted to get as many medals for Singapore as we could.
“If there was anytime we could have met during the competition, it would have been in the finals.”
Berthier and Wong were not Singapore’s only medalists in fencing on Tuesday, with Clive Leu taking home a joint-bronze after losing to Christian Concepcion 15-10 in the men’s individual sabre semi-finals.
Earlier in the day, bowler New Hui Fen won the women’s singles event to add to Singapore’s gold medal tally. Her teammate Shayna Ng finished third.
Chess’ Gong Qianyun then claimed Singapore’s sixth gold.
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