Seng Song needs a good 100m time at Asian C’ships to shut his critics up

It’s going to be crunch time for national sprinter Poh Seng Song at next week’s Asian Track and Field Championships (Nov 10-14) in Guangzhou, China.

The 26-year-old is part of the 12-strong Singapore contingent taking part in the meet as a final tune-up for next month’s South-east Asia Games in Laos, but he will probably be the one under the most pressure to perform.

For he has not been able to better or equal his personal best of 10.49sec this year ever since he clocked that time at last December’s Asean University Games to qualify for the SEA Games.

Since then, Seng Song’s times have hovered in the 10.80sec region. He has clocked 10.82sec (Vietnam Open), 10.81sec (Perak Open), 10.85sec (Taipei Open) and 10.85sec (Malaysia Open).

And now it seems that his precious slot in the 100m in Laos is at stake.

Some quarters in the local athletics community point to fast-improving newcomer Muhammad Elfi Musapha as a natural replacement for Seng Song. The 22-year-old has clocked 10.62sec and 10.59sec at the Perak and Taipei Opens respectively, the latter time being the fastest time clocked by a Singapore sprinter this year.

However, Elfi has yet to meet the 10.54sec timing that would immediately qualify him as a contender for the 100m slot. He, like Seng Song, is currently part of the 4x100m relay team that has been selected for the SEA Games.

So if Elfi, who is coached by Melvin Tan*, does meet the qualifying time at next week’s Asian Championships, then Seng Song’s place in the blue riband event will be under severe threat.

(There is another sprinter – Muhammad Amirudin – who has qualified for the 100m. But his place apparently seems to be under less theat as he has clocked two faster times than Seng Song this year ie 10.81sec in the Perak Open and 10.70sec at the Taipei Open).

Seng Song, who is a lecturer at ITE Simei, says that his current times should not be held against him as he is working towards peaking at the SEA Games. He also says that he was having the flu durng the Vietnam,Perak and Taipei meets.

Unfortunately, observers can always point to U K Syam’s magnificent run of improving results (he went from 10.70 sec to a new national record of 10.37sec) in the lead-up to the 2001 SEA Games as a counter-argument to Seng Song’s claims.

Whatever the case, it looks like Seng Song desperately needs to put in a good show and clock a good time at the Asian Championships just to silence his critics.

I really hope he does.

Because if he doesn’t, and if he ends up losing his place in the end, then you can kiss team unity in the 4x100m relay goodbye.

Apart from the men’s 4x100m relay squad, the other athletes competing in Guangzhou include discus throwers* Wan Lay Chi and Scott Wong, pole vaulter Rachel Yang and jumpers Michelle Sng (high) Matthew Goh (long) and Stefan Tseng (triple).

It will be interesting to see if the higher level of competition at the Asian Championships can push any of these athletes towards achieving new personal bests.

That would be a wonderful personal morale boost as they go into the final weeks before the SEA Games.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan


Some changes (indicated by an *) have been made to this blog entry to reflect factual accuracy.  I would like to thank  Speed Demon for pointing them out (see his comment below)

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4 thoughts on “Seng Song needs a good 100m time at Asian C’ships to shut his critics up

  1. SPEED DEMON says:

    I really do not know where U going with this comment. Firstly, you got it wrong is, Elfi is not train by the former National Sprinter, Muhamad Hosni. He is train by Mr Melvin Tan. He’s been with Mr Melvin Tan from day one till now and hopefully more years to come.

    Secondly, the other sprinter, Muhammad Amirudin is under same stress and pressure like Seng Song. But like Muhammad Amirudin, he accept the fact. To be in the SEA Games, he has to be near his best. At least a 10.60s or else he risk of embarrasment of not qualifying in the final. And like him, he rather have another better runner to represent Singapore.

    Thirdly, Seng Song is not UK Shyam. UK Syham has proven that he capable of doing 10.37s. As he did the identical time at the World University Games before the SEA Games when he won the silver with 10.37s. UK Shyam have a track record to show that he is capable to repeat or better it. That is why then nobody questioned UK Shyam’s ability. Seng Song must have a progressive track record in working toward peaking at the SEA Games. Infact, he should show that he can do better time then the qualifying time. And I quote you, “It will be interesting to see if the higher level of competition at the Asian Championships can push any of these athletes towards achieving new personal bests. That would be a wonderful personal morale boost as they go into the final weeks before the SEA Games.” So, Seng Song should do better in the Asian Championship rather than another 10.80s. Do you agree?

    Now back to my opening sentence, what do you mean by I quote you, ” Because if he doesn’t, and if he ends up losing his place in the end, then you can kiss team unity in the 4×100m relay goodbye.” Are you inciting that Seng Song will disarray and break up the strong bonding in the SINGAPORE relay team? This is so ridiculous. Instead, you should motivate Seng Song to help and win the relay event. If he lose his slot in the 100m, he should continue to help in running the relays. After all, the relay team’s winning is also his win and ultimately, SINGAPORE’s WIN.

    Lastly, get your facts right. Wan Lay Chi and Scott Wong are not shot-putters but Discus Throwers.

    • singaporesportsfan says:

      Dear Speed Demon

      Thank you for your feedback and comment, which has provided a lot of food for thought. And thanks too for pointing out the factual inaccuracies.
      I have made the neccessary changes so that the write-up will be as factually correct as possible.

      Warmest regards

      • justanothercritic says:

        I’m gonna agree with Speed Demon. Don’t really know where you’re going with the whole break up the unity of the 4x100m team.

        Poh Seng Song (Wings)
        Elfi (Wings, coached by Melvin Tan)
        Amir (Wings, coached by Melvin Tan)
        Cheng Wei (Wings, coached by Melvin Tan)
        Gary (Wings, currently under in NS)
        last but not least Izwan (Swift)

        I really think PSS will be the last person to break up the unity of the 4x100m team.

  2. Daniel says:

    Dear SSF,

    Great article, however i am skeptical about the recording of the timings during the ASEAN Uni Games last December. Seng Song’s timing of 10.49s is highly dubious. If this were the case, the Vietnamese sprinter who clocked 10.21 in the heats would become the national record holder for his country. It is only logical to assume that this timing was hand timed, which is around 0.2-0.3 seconds slower than electronic timing (ET) which is an international pre-requisite.

    It is no surprise really that everyone posted a timing around .2-.3s faster in the heats as it was hand timed. .2 as you know makes a world of a difference in the 100m. I do not mean to take anything away from Seng Song, he definitely is highly talented. However i think more effort should be made to get the facts straight rather than jump to such conclusions. It is rather futile to punch someones ticket for a tournament as sublime as the SEA Games when the persons results rests under a huge question mark. This compounded by the fact that Seng Song ran 10.85s in the Asian Chanpionships does nothing to strengthen his argument as Singapore’s top sprinter.

    It is unfair to compare Seng Song to U.K. Shyam who is proven to deliver results, which leaves me bewildered as to why he is not on the national team. I recall Shyam beating Seng Song in Negeri Sembilan as well as posting some pretty fast timings this season inspite of juggling work. It really questions the credibility of the selections procedure.

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