With her family watching her from the National Stadium stands in Bukit Jalil national walker Elena Goh Ling Yin walked her way to the gold medal in the women’s 10,000m walk .
The gold was a pleasant surprise for the 21-year-old University of Malaya Sports Management student who finished fourth at the Singapore Sea Games in 2015 – a creditable performance then despite carrying injuries.
Elena shrugged off Vietnam’s Phan Tha Bich Ha late in the race to clock 52:21.50 for the gold. The Vietnamese was timed at 52:27.78 for her silver while Thailand’s T. Assawawongcharoen clinched the bronze in 53:17.10.
“I was somewhat nervous as I was up against some of the rivals who competed with me in Singapore. The medal was not on my mind as I just wanted to finish the race without any injuries,” said Elena.
“However, things took a turn for me. My family surprised me by turning up at the National Stadium. Some of my family members took leave just to come and lend me morale support.
“It gave me more confidence and boosted my morale. The home fans were another contributing matter for my win. They gave me tremendous support in the stands and motivated me.”
The 2016 SUKMA 5,000m walk winner, added: “I am so emotional right now to know that my family surprised me when they came all the way from Melaka to come and support me.
“I also feel so thankful to the home crowd for cheering me on, this medal is for you,” cried Elena.