Elynn misses Sukma record en route to fifth gold 

PENANG swimmer Elynn Tan Yilin turned on another scintillating performance to win the women’s 50m freestyle for her fifth individual gold medal in the 19th Sukma (Malaysia Games) at the Tuanku Zara Aquatic Complex in Ipoh today.

She missed the Sukma record by a whisker as she clocked 26.56s in her attempt to crack the Sukma record of 26.50s set by Leung Chii Lin in 2008. Selangor swimmers Koh Jia Yi of Selangor (27.36) and Liew Chern Xin of Selangor (27.47) finished second and third respectively.

It was one of the four golds collected by Penang today, the other three coming from pencak silat exponent Mohamad Hafiz Halim, men’s compound archery team (with a new championship record) and boxer Mohd Aswan Che Azmi.

Elynn showing off the five golds and one silver she won.

Penang won four gold, five silver and one bronze medals today to bring their medal tally to 32-30-31. They have climbed up the overall standings by a rung to sixth spot, trailing leaders Terengganu (53-48-51), Federal Territories (50-38-50), Selangor (45-66-66), Sarawak (42-35-59) and Perak (37-50-51). Tomorrow in the last day of the Games.

There is no doubt Elynn, 18, has emerged as one of the outstanding swimmers in the competition.

“Yes, I was going for the record. Nevertheless, I’m happy with my overall performance,” said Elynn, who was specifically flown home for the Sukma after just a month of taking up a design course at the Iowa State University in the United States.

Elynn capped her fine outing by anchoring the 4x100m medley team to second placing in 4:36.75. The team were initially trailing in fifth place but Ho Keesha and Elynn swam powerfully to make up for the deficit. The first two young swimmers – Song Joe Han and Lee Yen Yi – also gave their best.

Penang Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee and boxer Mohd Aswan posing for a photograph.

The gold went to Selangor (4:31.08) while the bronze was won by Federal Territories (4:39.63).

Asked what she would do with the RM20,900 cash incentives she won, Elynn said she would probably give the money to her parents – engineer Tan Sin Khoon and housewife Lim Tean Beng, who were both at the pool to give their moral support.

The Penang state government is giving a reward of RM4,000 for an individual gold medal, RM2,500 for an individual silver medal and RM750 for an individual bronze medal. For team events (three to five athletes), the reward for silver medal is RM900 each.

“I’ll be going back to US on Sunday and I would probably give the money to my parents,” said Elynn, who represented Malaysia in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. Her four other gold medals came in the 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m butterfly and 100m butterfly.

(From left) Khambeswaran, Syed Imran, coach Shamani, Muhammad Faris and Logathasan smile after the men’s compound team victory.

Lim Yin Chuen, who also flew in from the United States to swim for Penang, clinched a silver medal in the men’s 50m freestyle (23.80). Federal Territory’s Keith Lim Kit Sern broke his own record with a time of 23.19s.

He earlier won one gold (200m freestyle), two silver (100m freestyle, 100m backstroke) and one bronze (100m butterfly).

In archery, the Penang men’s compound team finally landed the archery team their first gold medal in 2018 Sukma.

The team, comprising M. Khambeswaran, Syed Imran Syed Ibrahim and Muhamad Faris Jamaludin, beat the Sabah trio of Chin Shi Yi Yi, Eugene Lo Foh Soon and Mecedger Sage Edie 234-230 in the final.

Mohamad Hafiz celebrates after receiving his prize for winning the pencak silat men’s Class F (70-75kg) final.

Penang were also pushed hard in the semi-finals against Terengganu and managed to enter the final with a perfect score of 60 in their last shot for 228-226 victory.

Archery coach Shamani Ganesen said her team were disappointed in the last few days after missing the gold narrowly on four occasions and had to settle for silver medals.

“We’re a bit down after missing the gold medals by a point in three events and by three points in another event,” said Shamani.

“From day one, our archers fought hard. So, today, I told them to just focus on getting good scores. We wanted to show our best and close with a good shot.

“But the boys were hungry for gold. And it’s fantastic that they ended the campaign with not only a good finish but also a new Games record.”

In a way, for Khambeswaran and Syed Imran, they made up for their disappointment by losing to their rivals in other events by a mere point.

Khambeswaran, who is now studying at Sekolah Sukan Malaysia Pahang (SSMP), attributed the victory to the team’s high spirit.

In boxing, Mohd Aswan, coached by Indonesian Jhonny Kasiram, proved too strong for Wan Muhammad Haniff Wan Zahalan of Terengganu by winning 5-0 in the men’s middle weight (75kg) final.

However, his fellow boxer, Mohamad Asuad was beaten by R.S. Theena Thayalan of Federal Territories 0-5 in the men’s welter (69kg) final.

Mohamad Hafiz Halim gave Penang a good start in the morning when he overpowered Mohamad Subbhan Sahriyanto 5-0 in the pencak silat men’s Class F (70-75kg) final while his teammate, Mohamad Ridzuan Abdullah, had to settle for silver when he lost 0-5 to Muhammad Najib Abd Hadi of Perak in the Class B (50-55kg) final.

Story by K.H. Ong

Pix by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis & Nur Afiqah Zainudi and courtesy of Penang State Sports Council