KORAT, Dec 14 (Bernama) -- At 31, Chao Siao Fong has reached the twilight of her international basketball career and she knows it.
Basketball has been a major part of her life since she made her debut for Selangor in the Junior tournament in the early nineties and the strain is showing.
After helping Malaysia win the gold medal against Thailand 61-60 in a nail-biting final at the Keelapirom Stadium yesterday where she top scored for the team with 20 points, coach Tan See Wah offered her the hand of thanks.
"She came to the team's rescue when we needed someone with the nerves and steady hands. Her experience was a crucial factor in Malaysia winning the gold and as much as I want her to carry on playing for Malaysia, I know she is finding it tough.
"Age is catching up and I know she still has the desire to play. But at times I need to look for someone else to carry on the torch. She will be a part of the team if she wants but her place in the starting five has to be relooked," said See Wah.
Siao Fong, now an insurance agent, first appeared in the Sea Games in the 1995 edition in Chiangmai where she won gold and went on to win three more including yesterday's reward for Malaysia's victory over Thailand.
"I have been playing a long time now for my country and I can feel the strain. I don't know whether I can continue anymore. I will make a decision later," said Siao Fong, whose one point from the two free throws she took in the final minute of the match proved so crucial in the end.
She is considering taking up coaching but for now she has the gold medal in her hand and that's most important.