HANOI: Their scores had flashed on the screen at the My Dinh Water Sports Palace and they were halfway through giving their interviews when the quartet of Joseph Schooling, Mikkel Lee, Quah Zheng Wen and Jonathan Tan were told that they had been disqualified from the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.
The Singaporeans had earlier won the race on Saturday (May 14) evening with a time of 3:17.19 ahead of Malaysia and Vietnam. But official results later disqualified Singapore and Malaysia.
This meant that Vietnam won gold, Indonesia the silver and Thailand the bronze.
The disqualification was later confirmed by national head coach Gary Tan.
"I think it's based out of a technicality. It's very tough to actually make a protest of the result as well. Even though we're trying to find a reason and we wanted to make sure that this was not a issue of the technical error," he said.
"Kudos to the boys. Not a fault of anybody's; I think there's something that happens in a competitive environment."
CNA understands that the disqualification was due to a marginally early take-off from one of the swimmers on the team.
At the last SEA Games in the Philippines, Darren Chua, Tan, Quah, and Schooling clinched gold in the event with a meet record time of 3:16.82.
This is Schooling’s first event of the Vietnam SEA Games, where he will also look to defend his 100m butterfly title.
Schooling, along with Quah are currently in the midst of serving their National Service.