MANILA: Indonesia clinched the first gold medal of the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines on Friday (Nov 29), bringing Singapore's 54-year stranglehold on the men's water polo competition to an end.
The tournament winners beat Malaysia 14-7 to take the lead in the five-team round-robin competition at the New Clark City Aquatics Centre, but had to watch a nail-biting 6-6 draw between Singapore and the Philippines before their triumph was sealed beyond doubt.
Indonesia's win against Malaysia - its final match in the group – left them with 7 points at the top of the table beyond Singapore’s reach.
"It's surreal. It's amazing, I can't even think," Indonesia captain Rezza Auditya Putra told AFP. "We did a great job all this tournament."
The match between Indonesia and Malaysia was largely dominated by Indonesia in the first quarter with 4-0, increasing their lead with the score at 7-2 the end of the second quarter.
The second half ended with Indonesia doubling their score from the first, despite Malaysia's attempts to strike back for a final score of 14-7.
Singapore stand third in table with 3 points with one match left to play.
On Thursday, Singapore saw its first loss in SEA Games history to Indonesia when they were beaten 7-5.
Indonesia had been runners-up to their arch-rivals Singapore in every edition of the biennial tournament since 2013.
"We did it, we did it, we did it!" Indonesia assistant coach Benny Respati told AFP.
"I'm speechless. I'm really proud of my team. It's historic. It's been 50-something years. Hard work pays off, I guess."
In its first match of the SEA Games, Singapore beat Malaysia 17-5.
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