Acing with grit and grace: TeamNUS flies Singapore’s flag high at SEA Games 2023
The 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games came to a close last week, marking the end of a stellar showcase of sporting action and excellence from the region. Held in Cambodia, this year’s games saw a bumper crop of 59 representatives from TeamNUS, comprising 33 students and 26 alumni, who were part of the excellent outing by the 558-strong Singapore contingent that brought home the nation’s landmark 1,000th SEA Games medal.
TeamNUS athletes took part in a wide range of events ranging from athletics to aquatics, cricket, fencing and wushu, amongst others. The strength and grit displayed by the TeamNUS athletes, and the excellence and camaraderie they showed on the regional sporting stage, pulled off 23 podium finishes consisting of 11 gold, two silver and 10 bronze medals.
Double-gold joy for national fencer
For national fencer Maxine Wong (Year 3, NUS Economics), it has been a hectic road to the SEA Games with the preceding weeks full of training and competitions overseas, and then a stop back in Singapore for her university exams in May, before heading off to Cambodia.
Undaunted by her relentless schedule, Maxine gave it her all and brought home a gold medal, her first of two, in the Women’s individual Foil event. This was also Maxine’s first individual gold medal at the SEA Games. She then returned to the piste with her team mates a few days later to bring home a second gold medal in the team Foil event, contributing to a much-lauded performance by Team Singapore fencers at this year’s games.
“I am very proud to represent Singapore at my third SEA Games,” said Maxine. “I am also very happy and thankful to have achieved my personal goal of winning double gold in both the individual event and the team event!”
“It has not been easy, especially juggling studies and training and travelling, but it was all made possible with the support from my coach, my mother, my family, and Fencing Singapore,” she added.
With strength and confidence
Joining Singapore’s gold medal haul was wushu athlete Kimberly Ong (Year 1, NUS Law), who clinched the top prize in the women’s daoshu and gunshu combined event. Coming into the games as the defending champion in this event, Kimberly admitted to feeling nervous about retaining her crown. However, the nerves did not get the better of her and she brought home the gold medal again with a strong and confident display.
It was a remarkable achievement for the athlete who had undergone surgery just a few months prior to remove a cyst from her womb. She also joined her fellow teammates to clinch a second medal, a bronze, in the women’s duilian team event several days later.
“This SEA Games has been extremely rewarding and eye-opening for me,” Kimberly shared. “Especially with the many challenges I faced along the way like having to undergo surgery, continue training and balancing my studies at the same time, this victory feels extra sweet and I will cherish it for a long time!”
Bringing their A-game to the field
The recent years have been a tough period for the national cricket team, who have faced various challenges including the lack of an adequate space for training. Despite this, they triumphed against the odds to achieve three podium finishes at this year’s games. TeamNUS cricket players Aahan Gopinath Achar (Year 3, NUS Business), Avi Dixit (Year 4, Yale-NUS College) and Aman Desai (Year 1, NUS Computing) were right in the thick of the action playing their part in the team.
All three were part of the team which brought home bronze medals for the men’s T20 and T10 events. Avi was also part of the team which emerged victorious in the men’s Sixes.
“It feels amazing to be able to contribute to the medal tally for Singapore,” said Aman. “We are glad all the hard work and sacrifices that we had put in paid off very well, despite all the challenges we face at home.”
“All this would not have been possible without the sacrifices and support of our family, coaches and friends who have been behind us for more than half a decade now!” quipped Aahan.
Congratulations to all our NUS student and alumni athletes who have continued to fly Singapore’s flag high! Find out more on the list of participants and medal tally below.