SINGAPORE: Singapore’s 34th and final gold medal at the Myanmar Southeast Asian (SEA) Games was won by judoka Ho Han Boon.
He took the gold in the men’s over-100kg category.
The hulking 188-kg athlete wants to continue his winning ways at the 2015 Games, which will be hosted by Singapore.
Ho defeated Thailand’s Saknarin Kaewpakdee in the first bout of the round-robin tournament before overcoming Malaysia’s Abdul Razak in the final.
The medal means a lot to the 24-year old, especially as it was his SEA Games debut.
But Ho admits it won’t be an easy task to repeat his win when Singapore plays host in 2015.
He said: “The pressure is there, especially it (2015 SEA Games) is in the home ground, and opponents now they know what I am going to do. Maybe in 2015, I got to change my way of doing it, change of styles and throws.”
The 1.92m tall giant already knows where he needs to improve if he wants another shot at gold.
One key factor will be to reduce his weight by at least 20kg for better stability and stamina.
Ho had trained in Mongolia before the Myanmar competition, and hopes he could get another trip there prior to 2015.
The Singapore Judo Federation (SJF) has already assembled a squad of about 40 athletes to prepare for the next SEA Games, and some of them have already started training.
The Federation is looking at fielding up to 20 athletes across 18 events when Singapore plays host.
SJF is optimistic that at least five or six of the judokas will reach the finals, with a few of them in with a realistic chance of clinching gold.
Steven Loh, vice president of SJF, said: “Get a big squad early, and we will keep training because you cannot depend on one weight and have one person for 18 months, and then a month before that he gets injured. So we have a few people within the same weight category, and we will send them out for regional competition, which is very important for qualifying and for gaining experience.”
On the coaching front, local coach Low Chee Kiong will continue to train the squad.
He had replaced Korean Coach Jeon Ki Young, who resigned in August 2013.
The Federation has confirmed Singapore Expo Halls 1 and 2 as the competition venue for the 2015 SEA Games.
The halls will be able to hold up to 2,000 spectators. A pre SEA Games tournament will be held to test the venue and as a final tune-up for the organizers.