A standout showing by NUS student and alumni athletes at the 31st SEA Games
They are among 427 Team Singapore athletes who competed in Hanoi as part of the 31st Southeast Asian Games – the first Games since the pandemic.
With the flame of the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games put out to mark the end of the biennial sporting event in Vietnam this week, we celebrate the grit and determination displayed by over 20 NUS students and alumni who gave it their best shot and bagged a total of 19 medals.
In the first SEA Games since the pandemic, the NUS athletes - 13 students and 11 alumni - took part in a wide array of events which included fencing, taekwondo, golf, bowling, beach handball, e-sports, dancesport, shooting and more. Their valiant efforts contributed to the nation’s third-best showing away from home at the SEA Games.
Historic victory for Singapore
Third-year student Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman (Faculty of Science) and first-year student Rebecca Ong (Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine) were part of the women’s fencing epee team that bagged gold after a historic victory over Thailand. Both ladies were overjoyed with the milestone win for the nation after a heart-wrenching loss to Philippines in the 2019 SEA Games.
Kiria, who also won a silver in an earlier individual epee event, was focused on the prize for the entire duration of this game. “We were all very elated and excited about what we had accomplished. Getting to the finals in the 2019 SEA Games was already historic, and we knew that a gold medal was within reach. To be able to better ourselves this time was very fulfilling,” she shared.
“NUS has helped me to be more independent, as a student and an athlete. Being empowered to build my class schedule, I learnt to manage my time between trainings and lessons better. This helps me fully focus on trainings,” continued Kiria.
The finals, played on 15 May 2022 at the My Dinh Indoor Games Gymnasium, was a keenly contested match which saw the women’s epee team triumph with a 45-36 lead over its Thai opponents.
Quietly confident of the progress made by the team, she hopes this team can continue playing for more SEA Games and Asian Games to come. “Taking it one step at a time, we hope to compete together in the Olympics,” she added.
Shining debutant on the green
Aloysa Atienza from College of Design and Engineering made her Games debut in golf. Back from Australia after competing in several tournaments for a month, she went into her game calm and confident. She proceeded to secure a silver medal in the individual golf event, a performance with which she is pleased.
“I am excited to fly the Singapore flag high in Hanoi. Having to endure the period of lockdowns, finding the drive to keep working hard and being 1 per cent better every day - that was really tough. I’m glad to see all that dedication and hard work paying off,” the debutant recounted with joy.
With this achievement, she becomes the first female golfer to win Singapore a medal at an away SEA Games since 1991. Grateful for the love and support she has received, Aloysa also credited her community for her achievement. “I would like to thank my family for being my number one supporters since I started chasing the dream. My friends, classmates and professors have been very accommodating when I travelled and missed classes especially in my final year of school,” she shared. “I would not be where I am without all their constant belief in me."
Alumnus setting a new national record
Over at the track, NUS alumnus Ang Chen Xiang (Medicine, ’19) is no stranger to breaking records. Putting his best foot forward, the national track and field athlete set the new national record for the ninth time in his career when he clinched silver in the 110m hurdles segment. The time clocked at the Games was 0.03 seconds faster than the national record he set at the Singapore National Track & Field Championships in January 2022.
A seasoned athlete since his undergraduate days in NUS, Chen Xiang recounted how TeamNUS has journeyed with him this far. “NUS sports and the medical faculty were extremely supportive in my sporting endeavours, which allowed me the flexibility to compete at multiple international races whilst juggling my academic requirements,” he reflected.
“Iron sharpens iron, and these competitions and training stints have formed the basis of my maturity as an athlete.”
This is Chen Xiang’s fourth SEA Games, and he is grateful to have been a part of Singapore athletics’ exceptional showing this year – also its best since the 1993 SEA games. He candidly shared what his plans are after the Games: “As with each major event, we go back to the drawing board to solidify strengths and work on weaknesses. The next SEA Games is just around the corner and the Asian Games has been postponed with no definite date, so planning for training will need to incorporate an element of flexibility.”
Congratulations to all our NUS student and alumni athletes who have done the nation proud! Find out more on the list of participants and medal tally here.