The men’s long jump final at the ongoing IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada, was concluded last night.
South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga won it with 7.99m. Eusebio Caraces of Spain was second with 7.90m while Stewart Taylor of Canada took the bronze with 7.63m.
You can read their post-competition interviews here
It makes you wonder whether young Matthew Goh could have snared a podium finsih if he had been allowed to defer his national service and take part in the World Juniors.
After all, he did set his national record of 7.62m at last December’s South-east Asia Games, and under national jumps coach Valeri Obidko, has been known to improve on his distances by 0.2m every year.
Matthew’s father did appeal for his son to be allowed to compete at the World Juniros and to enlist for national service after that, but Mindef turned it down because “the circumstances were not exceptional to warrant granting of deferment.”
You can read Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean’s response to Nominated Member of Parliament Joscelin Yeo on Mindef’s reasons for not granting Matthew’s request for a three-month deferment here.
Yes, one can always argue that one can never tell if Matthew can set a new national record at the World Juniors, or even finish among the top-three. But then again, I wouldn’t have bet against him doing so given his annual rate of improvement, and the young man’s steely determination.
This is another example of us shooting ourselves in the foot when it comes to Singapore sports. We will never know until we try, and yet we are not willing to give it a try.
And I guess this is why Singapore sport can never go far.
And when we fail to reach the heights, we lament, beat our breasts and complain that our sportsmen don’t have the hunger or the talent. And then we proceed to flood our sports with foreign exports.
And when these naturalised citizens go on to win top honours, and when the general public doesn’t quite share in the manufactured joy, the authorities then slam the people for being ungracious, and for failing to recognise the sacrficies and hard work that these naturalised citizens have put in to achieve sporting glory for Singapore.
Well, I am sure Matthew was also willing top put in the sacrifices and hours of hard work too.
He just wasn’t given the chance because “the circumstances were not exceptional enough to warrant the granting of deferment”.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan