SINGAPORE – Southeast Asian Games success for hosts Singapore was overshadowed by tragedy on Sunday after revelations that at least 6 schoolchildren and two adults died in an earthquake on Mount Kinabalu.
As Singapore continued to rack up wins on the busiest day of action so far, attention was diverted by news from neighboring Malaysia which brought the death toll from Friday’s quake to 16.
A minute’s silence will be held at all Games venues at the start of competition on Monday, which has been designated a day of remembrance with flags at half-mast on government buildings.
“We hope that this collective expression of sympathy and support from all Singaporeans will give solace and comfort to the families and loved ones of the victims,” a government statement said.
The Singaporeans were part of a school excursion to the popular climbing destination, where a 6.0-magnitude quake triggered thunderous landslides.
The incident is particularly poignant at the SEA Games, which has a heavy emphasis on youthful endeavor and includes athletes as young as 10.
Singapore’s Joseph Schooling, 19, was set to go for two swimming gold medals later on Sunday as the Games’ unofficial poster boy launches his bid for nine titles.
Schooling made an immediate impact when he topped the 100m freestyle heats with 50.03sec, and will also lead Singapore in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Singapore’s Guillaume Soh won a rain-soaked men’s marathon in 2hr 34min 56sec, just 13 seconds ahead of Thailand’s Boonthung Srisung after a sprint finish.
Thai runner Natthaya Thanaronnawat won the women’s race by a more comfortable margin in 3:03:25, crossing 74 seconds before Mary Joy Tabal of the Philippines.
Singapore also grabbed golds in billiards, netball and shooting to reach a total of 21, five ahead of Vietnam at the top of the medals table.
More than 60 gold medals are available on the second full day of competition in the 11-nation, 36-sport Games, which wrap up on June 16. – Rappler.com
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