Grace shows her mettle with hammer bronze

SINGAPORE: There were no rookie nerves for Papua New Guinea-born Grace Wong Xiu Mei.

By Aftar Singh

National athlete Grace Wong in action in the hammer throw at the Singapore SEA Games on Tuesday. - S.S.KANESAN/ The STAR
National athlete Grace Wong in action in the hammer throw at the Singapore SEA Games on Tuesday. – S.S.KANESAN/ The STAR

SINGAPORE: There were no rookie nerves for Papua New Guinea-born Grace Wong Xiu Mei.

The 15 year-old Malaysian showed steely determination to post a season’s best 53.80m in the hammer throw event at the National Stadium in Kallang on Tuesday.

And that effort was good enough for her first-ever SEA Games medal – a bronze.

She also became the youngest Malaysian track and field athlete to win a medal in the Games’ history.

Last week, the Sarawakian made her debut in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) championships in Wuhan City, China. She finished a creditable fifth with a throw of 53.10m.

On Tuesday, six competitors took part in the event and fellow Sarawakian Casier Renee Kelly Lee, who was the silver medallist in the 2013 Myanmar Games, could only manage fourth with a poor 50.78m.

17-year-old gold medallist Mingkamon Koomphon of Thailand created a new SEA Games record with a distance of 56.57m. The previous record of 56.41m was set by Malaysia’s Tan Song Hwa in Vientiane, Laos, in 2009.

Defending champion Panwat Gimsrang bagged the silver with a personal best throw of 55.47m.

Grace, who has a personal best of 55.82m, said it was tiring to feature in two competitions within a week.

“Winning the medal has boosted my confidence to train much harder to become the top woman hammer thrower in Asia in five years’ time,” said Grace.

In the men’s hammer event, two-time bronze medallist Jackie Wong Siew Cheer bagged his third consecutive bronze with a hurl of 61.18m, more than two metres short of his national record of 63.71m.

The 23-year-old Jackie, also from Sarawak, was clearly disappointed. “I was lucky to win the bronze in the last attempt after creating faults in four throws,” he said.

Caleb John Stuart of the Philippines bagged the gold and broke the SEA Games record with a distance of 65.63m, erasing the old mark of 62.23m set by Tantipong Phetchaiya in Myanmar two years ago. Tantipong settled for the silver with a hurl of 62.12m.

Source: Grace shows her mettle with hammer bronze