CLARK, Philippines: Just moments after emerging from the water after a historic victory in the SEA Games underwater hockey competition, team captain Jonathan Chan was already thinking about his team’s next target: Another gold.
“To come off with the gold medal, to have carried out and executed our strategy and our plan, I’m just so proud of our boys. It’s just a wonderful feeling to be here,” said Chan.
“Half the job is done, so we’ve got one medal and we’re going to hunt for one more. We’re savouring the moment but we’re focused on the next gold.”
Singapore men’s and women’s underwater hockey teams both won gold at the 30th SEA Games over the Philippines on Wednesday (Dec 4) at the Vermoza Sports Hub in Imus, Cavite.
In the 4x4 events, the men's team beat the Philippines 5-0 while the women's competition ended with a score of 4-2.
A 3-0 lead in the first half for the men's final was enough to put Singapore in a commanding position to claim the victory and they sealed the win with two goals after the break.
“I think we peaked at the right moment - in the gold medal match. That’s when we really came together,” Chan explained.
“Over the last few days we’ve been working at building up towards this point ... This is exactly how it should be and I’m really happy with the way (it turned out).”
The women’s 4X4 finals was slightly closer with the Philippines threatening to mount a comeback with two late goals. But Singapore held on.
Coach Lena Plambeck credited her charges for an excellent showing, and described them as a “wonderful group” to work with.
“Even though it’s an amateur sport, they have been just so professional about their training, about their preparation for this competition,” said Plambeck.
“They’ve had to do everything themselves basically and they’ve just been so focused and very easy to coach, listen to instructions, take it on board, try things. It’s been a wonderful team to work with.”
Singapore's golds are its first-ever SEA Games medals for the sport, which is debuting at the 2019 SEA Games.
Singapore has now struck gold thrice on Wednesday, following a victory in the lawn bowls women's triples final.
“Underwater hockey was not a mainstream sport and having it included in the sea games, it’s just very fulfilling,” said Chan, who was previously a water polo player.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be competing in the 6x6 event, with the round robin games beginning today.
The underwater hockey victories takes Singapore’s total gold medal tally into double digits (11).
Follow Mediacorp’s coverage of the 30th SEA Games and get the widest Team Singapore coverage with four LIVE channels on Toggle. Go to toggle.sg/seagames2019 for details.