Dylan Wong ends National Schools medal quest on a golden high

There’s a really good – albeit short – story in TODAY about Singapore Sports School student Dylan Wong (see below).

The 16-year-old not only won the Boys B Division triple jump with his leapt of 14.27m at the National Schools Track and Field Championships yesterday (Monday), but also set a new championship record with the distance. It was 7 centimetres longer than the 14.20m set by Benjamin Ong in 2012.

But what was more heartwarming about Dylan’s gold was the fact that he couldn’t even make the Sports School team last year because he was “not good enough”.

I am also given to understand that the gold – and the silver he garnered in the long jump last week – are the first medals that Dylan has ever won at the Schools Championships. What a wonderful way to end one’s find participation at the National Schools Championships.

Will Dylan ever make good on his stated ambition to one day break the national long and triple jump records set by Matthew Goh (7.62m) and Stefan Tseng (16.04m) in 2009? I don’t know – but then again, he is being trained by Valeri Obidko, the former coach of Matthew and Stefan, so if there is one person who can help a jumper to realise his full potential, it would be the former Russian-turned-Singapore citizen, whose proteges are all in the national record books.

Congratulations, Dylan, and all the best in your jumping endeavors.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Dylan makes the jump from zero to hero in one year

(TODAY Online, April 15, 2014)

SINGAPORE — What a difference a year makes.

Twelve months ago, Singapore Sports School (SSP) student Dylan Wong was not even selected by his coaches to compete at the National Schools Track and Field Championships because he was, in his own words, “not good enough” for the level of competition.

Yesterday, the Secondary 4 student not only won the Boys “B” Division title in the triple jump at the annual meet, he also set a new championship record while doing so. Dylan leapt 14.27m at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium to erase the existing mark of 14.20m set by Benjamin Ong — also from SSP — in 2012.

It was also his second medal of the Championships — he had won a silver in the long jump last week with his 6.60m effort.

The 16-year-old, who is 1.75m tall, credits his growth spurt for his success at this year’s meet.

“You can say puberty hit me late, or I am a late bloomer, but my increase in height has helped me a lot in my sport,” said Dylan, who has grown by more than 10cm in less than six months.

In fact, Dylan has now set his sights on eventually breaking the national long jump and triple jump records set by Matthew Goh (7.62m) and Stefan Tseng (16.04m).

“During triple jump trainings in the past month especially, I have been consistently doing 14.50m jumps … I feel that it is easier now that I am taller, and also because I have been working on my landing which is my weak point,” said the teenager, whose uncle is former national high jumper Wong Yew Tong who still holds the national record for the event.

There were also new records set in the Boys “C” Div Discus (1kg) and the Girls’ “B” Div 200m yesterday. Raffles Institution’s Jonathan Low, 14, set both a meet and national Under-15 record when he hurled 53.66m to eclipse the 51.54m recorded by Jordan Chia last year.

His nearest competitor, Alfred Leong from Hwa Chong Institution, finished more than eight metres behind with his 45.62m effort. SSP’s Kugapriya Chandran, 16, clocked 25.51sec in the 200m sprint to break the record of 25.64s set by Eugenia Tan in 2012. ADELENE WONG

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Zubin and Joshua in record-breaking form in 400m events

Anglo-Chinese Junior College’s Zubin Percy Mucherji signed off on his final appearance at the National Schools Track and Field Championships in style on Friday afternoon when he sprinted to victory in the A Division Boys 400m final, finishing ahead of Raffles Institution’s Calvin Quek and National JC’s Koo Kai Siang.

The 17-year-old, who won the same event in 49.39sec last year, clocked an improved 48.69sec to also set two new records – the championship record as well as the Schools National record. Both records (48.81) were set by Ng Chin Hui in 2012.

I assume Zubin will be serving his national service next year. He is a bright talent and  do hope that he plans to continue training during NS wherever and whenever possible, and that he will go on to represent Singapore at the SEA Games one day. The current top-three times in the event at the SEA Games (2013) are 47.22, 47.45 and 47.78. Zubin’s timing is less than a second off, and he’s only 18 this year which suggests to me that he has the potential to go further. So I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Another 400m championship record was broken today – in the C Div Boys 400m. Anglo-Chinese School Independent student Joshua Lim was just too strong for his rivals, sprinting home in 51.65sec. He not only broke Chin Hui’s record of 51.97 but was also more than three seconds ahead of nearest rival Darius Ng of Hwa Chong Institution (55.15).

In fact, to the crowd at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium today, it looked like the real battle was between Darius and HCI teammate Irving Alexander De Boer who finished third in a very close 55.17sec.

My heartiest congratulations to Zubin and Joshua. Well done, both of you!

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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National record-breaker Lynette’s preference to focus on her studies is wise

Lynette Lim has done it again.

After setting a new national record of 11.79m in the triple jump at last year’s National Schools Track and Field Championships, the Victoria Junior College student repeated her achievement when she leapt 11.89m in the Girls A Div final at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Thursday.

The Straits Times reported on Friday that Lynette’s effort meant that she set seven records at the same time with her sixth and final attempt in the sand pit. Apart from the National Open and A Div records, her effort also rewrote the Schools National mark as well as the National Junior, National U-19, National U-17 and Youth Best Performance records. That’s a really nice long feather to put on ones cap.

I thought however, that TODAY’s report (see below) had an interesting take on the situation – which was that Lynette is not interested in becoming a full-time athlete in future, and prefers to focus on her studies even though she is the best in the discipline in Singapore.

Her parents feel the same, and it is easy to see why – her leap, despite being a national record, is about 3 metres away from being among the best in South-east Asia, and 3m is quite a gulf to conquer in a discipline like the triple jump.

In other words, local standards in some athletics disciplines are still a long way from even South-east Asian standards.

So is it worth turning full-time just to try to overcome such a huge gap, with the chances of success considered slim, at best?

But it will be good if Lynette is able to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games at the Asian qualifying trials in Bangkok in May. Young athletes should always aspire to achieve feats that they have the potential to realise. And if she does qualify, then maybe at the YOG, Lynette and her coach will have an idea of where she really stands among her peers in the region, and, subsequently, be better able to make a more informed decision about her future in the sport.

In the meantime, congratulations to Lynette. And congratulations too to the trio of Joel Koh, Dong Dexin (both Hwa Chong Institution) and Raphael Soh (Raffles Institution) for all going under the Boys A Div 5,000m record on Thursday. Their times of 26min 43.01sec, 27:06.32 and 27:20.98 all went under Karthik Muthu s/o Supramanian’s A Div and Schools National record of 29:04.02 which was set in 2011.

Unfortunately, for Dexin and Rafael, only Joel’s name will appear in the record books. To the winner goes all the spoils, as the saying goes.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Studies come first for Lynette (TODAY Online, April 11, 2014)

By Ian De Cotta

SINGAPORE — For the second straight year, the national women’s triple jump record tumbled at the feet of Lynette Lim, but the achievement was especially sweet for the athlete as it was written at the Singapore National Schools Track and Field Championships yesterday.

In setting the new national standard of 11.89m at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, the Victoria Junior College student re-wrote the record she set last year at the same meet by another 10cm.

Only 16, Lynette’s development as an athlete at this stage seems to hold plenty of promise, but it is a career that could very well end after her A-Levels next year.

It is a prospect her coach John Seem is not looking forward to, as he believes the triple jumper is on track to breach the 12m mark in competition before the end of the year.

Lynette, he added, is focused on furthering her studies and has not given much thought to training full-time or building a career as a sportswoman. She, at least, has the backing of Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) President Tang Weng Fei, who cautioned against pushing young athletes against their will.

“There is too much talk about getting our young athletes to train full time and I am a little uncomfortable with this,” said Tang.

“I met Lynette’s parents on Sunday and they also want her to concentrate on her studies, but I also think she should be given room to enjoy herself first. There is still ample time if she changes her mind later.”

While Tang said Lynette is making good progress that could eventually lead to an elite athlete’s pathway programme, there is still a lot of work to be done before she could be on the same level as sprinter Shanti Pereira, the 17-year-old who finished fourth in the 200m at last December’s SEA Games in Myanmar and is widely regarded as a medal prospect for next year’s edition in Singapore.

But the new women’s triple jump national mark is still the third-lowest in the region, where the 14.17m record set at Naypyidaw is held by Indonesia’s Maria Natalia Londa. It also below the 12.29m bronze medal placing at last year’s SEA Youth Athletics championship in Vietnam, a target Tang said Lynette should aim for.

With the progress the teenager is making, Seem is confident it can be reached next year, although the focus now is to qualify for the August Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.

Said Seem: “Lynette is already doing 12m during training and I think the long jump competition two days ago may have tired her. If she continues making progress, I am sure she’ll do 13m within two years, that is if she is still training. We are now preparing for the Asian Area Qualifying for the Youth Olympics in Bangkok on May 21 and 22. The qualifying mark is 11.7m and only the top two in Asia will get to go.”

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