SEA Games: first Greco-Roman wrestling medal for Singapore after Timothy Loh’s bronze

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

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

He had lost 8-0 to local favorite and eventual gold medalist Van Hieu Ha, as well as Thailand’s Nanthawat Panpheuk. But an 8-0 victory over Xaisomboun Phetsouphane of Laos was enough for bronze.

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

Prior to Loh’s last bronze in the Greco-Roman event, Singapore had one silver (2009) and four bronze (2011 and 2019), all earned in freestyle wrestling.

Loh was unaware that his achievement on Tuesday opened up new vistas for the Singapore squad and when told, he exclaimed, “Wow! I didn’t really think about that. It’s okay. namely. This is comforting information.”

The part-time judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) coach and bar/restaurant consultant used to train regularly at the Singapore Wrestling Federation in Bedok after switching to the sport about a year ago.

He said he started wrestling because it would help add to his repertoire of skills and more importantly build his wrestling abilities. One of the takeaways from his first attempt at the sport at the Games, he said, was that “competitors from Southeast Asia have strong technique on the ground”.

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

“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 my style to meet the rules in place.”

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

Despite being a newcomer to the sport, Loh admitted that he got into competition chasing gold. But now that he has taken 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, whatever competition you’re in, you want to aim for the highest which in this case was a gold medal. I I’m already looking forward to the next one.”

Robert J. King