SEA Games: Elle Koh, 14, stuns compatriot to win epee gold on her debut

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Singapore fencer Elle Koh celebrates winning her semi-final tie at the women's individual epee competition at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Jeremy Lee)
Singapore fencer Elle Koh celebrates winning her semi-final tie at the women's individual epee competition at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Jeremy Lee)

SINGAPORE — Fencer Elle Koh, the second-youngest athlete in the Singapore contingent at age 14, stunned defending champion and compatriot Kiriah Tikanah Abdul Rahman in the women's individual epee final to clinch gold on her SEA Games debut on Friday (13 May).

The daughter of Fencing Singapore president Juliana Seow and national epee partner coach Henry Koh - who has been fencing since she was four years old - narrowly defeated Olympian Kiriah 12-11 at the My Dinh Indoor Games Gymnasium.

Elle, who was seeded fifth in the competition, had also claimed a nail-biting 15-14 win in her semi-final against top-seeded Vietnamese fencer Vu Thi Hong to reach the final. Kiriah, who was seeded second, beat Thailand's Thanee Korawan 15-12 to set up the all-Singapore final.

Her gold is the second won by Singapore at the Games, with artistic silat athlete Iqbal Abdul Rahman winning the first on Wednesday in the men's tunggal event.

While Elle could celebrate her upset victory, wushu athlete Jowen Lim was left to rue what might have been, as he missed out on a gold medal in the men's changquan event by a tiny 0.001 point.

The 2017 gold medallist was edged out into silver position by Malaysia's Clement Su, who scored 9.701 points to Lim's 9.700 points.

Singapore's wushu athlete Jowen Lim Si Wei performs his routine in the men's changquan competition at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Lim Weixiang)
Singapore's wushu athlete Jowen Lim Si Wei performs his routine in the men's changquan competition at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Lim Weixiang)

While Lim was happy to return to the podium after finishing sixth at the 2019 Games, he said that he lost out Su in the technical aspects of their competition routines.

"The scoring differences are always very small ... three or four or five decimal places. This is the nature of wushu," he told reporters. "I felt what I was lacking compared to the gold medallist was probably on the technical side like our movements, because probably the jumps-wise we were on par."

His teammate Chan Jun Kai added a bronze medal in the men's taijiquan event, which was won by Malaysia's Tan Zhi Yan.

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