National jumper Stefan Tseng suffered one of the biggest disappointments in his fledgling career when he failed to qualify for the triple jump final at the 12th IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, this morning ( about 4pm, Singapore time).
The national record holder finished last in the 13-strong qualifying field after recording a “No measure” in all three jumps.
He overstepped the line on his first two attempts and then saw his World Junior Championships dreams come to an end when he lost his balance during his final attempt.
Six jumpers qualified in all: Henry Franye (Australia, 16.40m), Teddy Tanqho (France, 16.30m), Daniele Greco (Italy, 15.79m), Sheryf El-Sheryf (Ukraine, 15.67m), Christian Taylor (USA, 15.67m) and Jose Alfonso Palomanes (Spain, 15.58m).
One wonders whether the persistent pain in Stefan’s ankle (see previous post here), which had bothered him for two weeks after the Asian Junior Athletics Championships, had a part to play in his disappointing afternoon today.
It had affected his performance at the Bahaus Junioren Gala 2008 in Mannheim, Germany, on 21 June, causing him to only manage a distance of 15.20m, a far cry from the new national mark of 15.78m which he set at the Asian Juniors in Jakarta, the previous week.
Subsequently, the 17-year-old spent the next two weeks shrugging off the pain and doing only light training before finally resuming full training last weekend.
However, every dark cloud has a silver lining and the Singapore Sports Fan feels that if there is one positive that Stefan can take back from his World Juniors experience, it is the indication that he has what it takes to jump 16m.
That sign was revealed on his first jump. Even though Stefan overstepped by a mere centimetre, he was able to hurl himself over the 16m mark.
Today’s result means that despite spending a month training in Frankfurt, Germany, as part of their final preparations for the World Juniors, both Stefan and Calvin Kang will now return to Singapore empty-handed.
On Tuesday, national sprinter Calvin - who holds the national 100m junior record of 10.53sec - reached the 100m semi-finals after clocking 10.62sec in the heats. He finished joint-13th out of 24 qualifiers.
However, he failed to make the final-eight cut after finishing seventh in his semi-final in 10.75sec.
Calvin’s next major international assignment will be next month’s Beijing Olympics. He has been selected by the Singapore Athletics Association as a wildcard entry for the 100m.
Following that, he and Stefan will represent Singapore at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India, in October.
The Singapore Sports Fan hopes that the two young rising talents will grow stronger from their respective setbacks and that they will use this experience to spur themselves on to faster times and longer distances.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan