PHNOM PENH – Fifth after emerging from the waters off Kep beach on Saturday morning, Bryce Chong knew there was no need to panic. He was still in a strong position for a podium finish after the 500m swim segment of the men’s aquathlon, with the 2.5km run to follow. The Singaporean triathlete cleared the transition phase with minimum fuss and set about chasing down race leader Teo Zun Jet of Malaysia. By the half-way mark as he made the U-turn, Chong had overtaken Teo as well as Vietnam’s Quang Nhat Lam. Chong eventually crossed the line in 15min 39sec to finish third, his bronze becoming a historical footnote as Singapore’s first medal of the 2023 SEA Games. Indonesia’s Rashif Amila Yaqin took gold in 14:28, with Andrew Kim Remolino of the Philippines settling for silver in 15:07. Chong’s teammate Luke Chua was fourth in the 14-competitor field in 16:01 while Teo (16:31) and Lam (17:57) were seventh and 10th respectively. Chong, who with Chua were part of the triathlon mixed relay team who took silver at the 2019 edition in the Philippines, was thrilled to claim his first individual medal at the biennial Games. Just minutes after stepping out of a recovery ice bath, Chong, 26, said: “It’s quite a challenging course, not only because of the heat. The swim was tough too. I was just focusing on my form during the run, trying to drive my arms forward to close the gap on the guys in front of me.”
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