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Fields of gold: 14 new national open and junior records and counting!
  • June 24th, 2008

We’ve a new guest writer on-board and would like to be known by pseudonym “SingaporeSportsFan”. From the author’s blog profile, the Singapore Sports Fan is a 30-something year old long-time observer and fan of the local sports scene. Do visit SingaporeSportsFan blog at singaporesportsfan.wordpress.com

The report:

This came out as a sports brief in The Straits Times yesterday (23 June 2008 ) so I’m just reproducing it here for those who may have missed it:

SPORTS WORLD (The Straits Times, 23 June 2008 )

Akid rewrites javelin mark

NANYANG Polytechnic student Akid Chong set a new national junior javelin record at the 34th Singapore Junior Athletics Championships yesterday.

He threw 53.70 metres to win the Under-20 final at the Gombak Stadium and eclipse the previous mark of 53.62m set by Huang Huaren in 1992.

Hwa Chong Institution (High School) pole vaulter Sean Lim leapt 4.16m to break Jacob Yao’s Under-17 mark of 4.10m set last year.

My thoughts:

Great to learn that another national junior record was broken over the weekend, this time at the 34th Singapore Juniors. Heartiest congratulations to Akid Cheong for his new national junior javelin mark.

Here’s a shout-out too to pole vaulter Sean Lim. Here’s hoping he will eventually break the national junior record (4.60m by Solomon Tan in 2003 ) and that the national open record will follow soon after (4.66m by Mok Hay Foo, 1993 ) soon after.

Just thought I’d provide a service to all followers of the local athletics scene by listing out all the national Open and national junior records that have been broken this year to date. As mentioned before, it’s a pretty impressive haul. More significantly, it’s continuing to grow.

Here’s the list to date:

National Open Records – 6

  1. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.71m by Stefan Tseng*
  2. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.78m by Stefan Tseng*
  3. Men’s Long Jump – 7.41m by Kenneth Wang Kan
  4. Men’s Long Jump – 7.45m by Calvin Cheng
  5. Women’s Pole Vault – 3.60m by Rachel Yang
  6. Women’s Triple Jump – 11.66m by Mariam Shazana*

National Junior Records – 8

  1. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.71m by Stefan Tseng*
  2. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.78m by Stefan Tseng*
  3. Men’s Long Jump – 7.22m by Matthew Goh
  4. Men’s Long Jump – 7.23m by Matthew Goh
  5. Men’s Long Jump – 7.45m by Calvin Cheng
  6. Men’s Javelin – 53.70m by Akid Cheong
  7. Men’s 100m – 10.53sec by Calvin Kang
  8. Women’s Triple Jump – 11.66m by Mariam Shazana*

Note: Stefan and Mariam also broke the national and national junior records (15.71m and 11.63m respectively) at the British Age-Group Indoor Championships in February. But those marks are not recognised by the SAA as they occurred indoors. If they had been, then we would be looking at a total of 8 new national open marks and 10 new national junior marks so far this year.

Have I missed out on any other records? If so, please let me know either by dropping me a comment or sending me a mail at sporesportsfan@yahoo.com.sg. Thanks. Your help will go a long way in helping me to maintain the accuracy of the statistics.

What’s also significant is that most of the records, save for the 100m national junior record, are coming from field events. This suggests one thing to me: that perhaps this, and not the track events, is Singapore’s niche area, and that the SAA should strongly consider spending more time and pouring more resources into.

That was just what Teck Whye Secondary did in the late 1990s. It realised that it did not have any runners so it focused on training its students in the throws.

And it was a smart move that paid off handsomely because the school would consistently finish in the top five in the overall standings at the National Schools Track and Field Championships with its golds in the throws, and without a single track win! (Amazing, their throws coach, Choo Chee Kiong wasn’t even a trained throws coach in the first place – he was a former youth gymnast!)

And today, Teck Whye alumni Wan Lay Chi (shot put and discus) and Chia Chiangyi (shot put) are now national junior record holders of their respective disciplines.

It’s also great to see old-time national records being wiped off the slate.

If you look at the list of national open and junior marks, you can see that there are some records that are still around from the 1960s, 1970s and early 80s. Clearly, standards have, up to the new millenium, either stagnated or plummeted over the years, leaving us with in a very embarrassing situation.

I mean, doesn’t anyone feel shy that Osman Merican’s 110m national record of 14.76sec, which was set in 1966, is still the standard to beat in Singapore athletics today?

That is why I am always puzzled when newspapers ask former athletes whether they feel sad that their long-standing records have been broken. Why should they feel sad? They should be naturally happy that someone has breached the mark because it means that Singapore athletics has taken a step forward.

Likewise, I was a little disturbed by what Kenneth Wang Kan supposedly said in the report in The Sunday Times (22 June 2008 ) on Calvin Cheng breaking the men’s long jump record. This is the excerpt from the report on Kenneth’s reaction:

Wang, who was not at the competition, heard of the record and subsequent versions of the judging process.

… The 21-year-old full-time national serviceman then rushed to the stadium to seek clarification from observers and officials at the pit.

After speaking with the Field Referee, Wang said: ‘I am still puzzled by the judging process. The announcement of the jump’s distance had already been made, so how could the performance mark be changed just because of some protests? I feel the judging was done in an unfair and unjust way.’

He has lodged an appeal with the Singapore Athletic Association …

Why lodge an appeal? After all, the SAAA, through its vice-president Loh Lin Yeow, had already declared the new distance as official.

Honestly, it would have really been better if Kenneth had expressed happiness that his training mate had broken his record and had said that he looked forward to the new challenge of getting his name back into the record books by the end of the year.

Here’s to more national records being broken and to athletes spurring and encouraging their training mates onto greater heights, longer distances and better times.

Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan
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Posted by Uncle Sha.
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