Singapore

SEA Games: Timothy Loh wins Singapore's first Greco-Roman wrestling medal


HANOI – Timothy Loh claimed Singapore’s first SEA Games medal in Greco-Roman wrestling after winning a bronze in the men’s 130kg event on Tuesday (May 17).

He had finished third in the round-robin event at the Gia Lam Gymnasium in Vietnam after winning one of his three bouts in the four-man event.

He had lost 8-0 to home favourite and eventual gold medallist Van Hieu Ha, as well as Thailand’s Nanthawat Panpheuk. But an 8-0 victory over Laos’ Xaisomboun Phetsouphane was good enough for the bronze.

This is 110kg strongman Loh’s fourth medal at the Games. The 30-year-old’s debut came in 2013 in judo. In that sport, he won two bronzes in 2013 and 2015 before he switched to sambo for the 2019 edition in the Philippines and won a bronze again.

Before Loh’s latest bronze in the Greco-Roman event, Singapore had one silver (2009) and four bronzes (2011 and 2019) which all came in freestyle wrestling.

Loh was unaware that his achievement on Tuesday had broken new ground for Team Singapore and when told, he exclaimed: “Wow! I didn’t really think about that. That’s nice to know. It’s a comforting piece of information.”

The part-time judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) coach and bar/restaurant consultant had been training regularly at the Wrestling Federation of Singapore in Bedok after making the switch to the sport about a year ago.

He said he took up wrestling as it would help to add to his repertoire of skills and especially strengthen his grappling abilities. One of the takeaways from his maiden attempt in the sport at the Games he said was that “South-east Asian competitors have a strong ground-based technique”.

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A particular difficulty for Loh was getting used to the lack of a uniform. In judo and sambo, athletes are clothed.

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“The main difference was not having something to grab. Another was an inability to attack the legs. I normally use my legs a lot so I had to change up my style to observe the rules in place.”

In Greco-Roman wrestling, holds below the waist are forbidden and athletes cannot trip, sweep or hook an opponent’s leg.

Despite being a newcomer in the sport, Loh admitted that he had gone into competition gunning for gold. But now that he has made the first step, he aims to go all the way at the next Games.

He said: “It’s one of those things that as an athlete, no matter which competition you enter, you want to aim for the highest which was in this case, a gold medal. I can’t wait for the next one already.”

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.



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