Ng takes home matching silverware
A RELAXED Fenella Ng Gar-loc ended her fifth Asian Games on a happy note yesterday, turning in a much-improved performance in the women's heavyweight single sculls to bag her second silver medal of the tournament.
Just 24 hours after Friday's disappointing second-place finish in the lightweight category - the event she had hoped to win - Ng returned to the Mapprachan Reservoir for another crack at a medal in the heavyweight category.
As on Friday, she was forced to take second place behind China's phenomenal rowing strength, this time trailing in behind gold medallist Zhang Xiuyun. But, unlike Friday, she was all smiles after holding off a determined late challenge from Japan's Junko Kano to secure silver with a performance of intelligence and commitment.
Yesterday's second place takes her all-time Asian Games medal tally to four, adding to Friday's silver and the two swimming medals she won in 1986 and 1994 as part of Hong Kong's 4?100 metres freestyle relay team.
'I'm not a heavyweight rower and I was giving away about 20 kilos to the Chinese girl today. I thought I'd have a go at her at the start to see if I had a chance, but after 1,000 metres it was obvious she had too much strength, so I just made sure of the silver,' said Ng.
'I'm happier today with the way I performed. I made a couple of mistakes on Friday that I was determined not to repeat and I didn't . . . it also helped that the pressure was off. Nothing was expected of me and I was a bit more relaxed before the race started.
'It's a very satisfying way to end, though. I said to myself before I came that I wanted to try and win two medals here and I have managed to do that . . . I've doubled my medals in the space of a couple of days,' she added.
Ng's silver yesterday completes the latest chapter in a top-level sporting career that began at the New Delhi Asian Games way back in 1982, and which has also seen her participate in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games. At 30 years old, what the future holds in store is anyone's guess.
She is committed to at least another season of rowing for Hong Kong but she is uncertain whether to look beyond 1999 and a possible place at the Sydney Olympics. Her big disadvantage is that her specialist discipline, the lightweight single sculls, is not an Olympic event.
If she wants to row in Sydney she will either have to bulk up substantially or find a lightweight double sculls partner who is willing to commit to the hours, days and months of training necessary at Olympic level.
'I'm going to have to sit down over the next couple of months and think long and hard about the next year, two years. Sydney is a long way off but if I want to participate, that's a decision I have to make soon,' she said.
'If I go for the heavyweight I'm going to have to live in the gym and put some muscle on because, frankly, I'm just not big enough to be competitive at world-class level.
'Either that or I'm going to have to find a partner who is serious about training for the Olympics. Before I do any of that, though, I'm going to go away and have a good, long rest. It's been a tough 14 months and I'm a bit tired.'