Tag Archives: Benjamin Ng

Hwa Chong’s Sheng Yao cracks C Boys pole vault record easily; Shahrir clocks 10.90sec in A Boys 100m semis

My heartiest congratulations to yet another junior pole vaulter.

Well done to Hwa Chong Institution’s Chan Sheng Yao for breaking the National Schools C Division Boys pole valt record this morning at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.

He cleared 3.80m to break Chua Wei Da’s eight-year-old record of 3.60m which was set in 2002.

His schoolmate, Ang Yi Zhe, was second with 3.25m. Victoria School’s Timothy Seow also cleared 3.25m but lost out on the silver to Yi Zhe on countback.   

Sheng Yao’s feat makes him not just the third Hwa Chong boy to break a pole vault record at the 51st National Schools Track and Field Championships — the others being Benjamin Ng and Sean Lim who both cleared 4.40m in the A Division competition on Monday to break Wei Da’s record of 4.31m (Benjamin won that event eventually, you can read about it in my previous post)

It also makes Sheng Yao the third vaulter coach David Yeo’s stable to break a championship record at this meet.   

Apparently, Sheng Yao’s achievement was a nap-shot even before today’s competition.

I was told that he had a personal best of 3.65m going into today’s final, and had been clearing 3.80m with ease at training. Which means today’s record was probably just another day at the office for the youngster. LOL.

Nevertheless, it was a great job by Sheng Yao and all credit to David too for preparing him well for the competition.

Meanwhile, another notable result occured in the A Boys 100m semi-finals today. Raffles Institution’s Shahrir Anuar equalled his personal best when he won his race in 10.90sec. The former Singapore Sports School student, who won bronze at the Asian Youth Games, only recently returned to competition after recovering from a hanstring injury, so it’s great to see him posting these times so soon upon his return.

It also reopens a fierce debate over Shahrir’s exclusion from the Youth Olympic Games squad.

Shahrir had lost out to Hwa Chong’s Donovan Chan and the Singapore Athletic Association had explained that it was because Donovan’s average times were faster than Shahrir’s.

But then again, that method of deciding the 100m spot was unfair as Shahrir had missed out on the first few competitions of the year because of his injury.

All we need now is for Shahrir to equal or go below his 10.90sec timing, and you can expect another SAA selection controversy to blow up. So let’s sit back and watch.  

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Benjamin, Sean and Jacob clear same height to break National Schools A Division pole vault mark

It looks like an unusual situation occured in the A Boys pole vault final at the 51st Schools Nationals Track and Field Championships today.

Chua Da Wei’s record of 4.31, which was set in 2006, was finally broken today, not once, not twice, but three times.

But the three pole vaulters all cleared the same height – 4.40m.

The three vaulters were Benjamin Ng and Sean Lim (both from Hwa Chong Institution) and Jacob Yao (Raffles Institution).

It looks like Benjamin probably won the gold in the end by countback. And likewise, Jacob probably pipped Sean to the silver in the same way.

I am wondering whether the record books will reflect all three students’ names or whether Bejamin’s will be the only one by virtue of his gold.

I must say I am surprised by Sean’s cleared height though.

After all, the 17-year-old was in sensational form after his record-breaking 4.36m effort in the B Division final at last year’s Championships. His purple patch saw him soaring as high as 4.61m in other competitions en route to breaking the national junior record.

It also booked him his tickets to the World Youth Championships and the South-east Asian Games.

I’m wondering if he was subsequently injured in the tail-end of 2009 and whether he is currently trying to regain his old form after recovering.

I would appreciate it if anyone who has any information about this, can drop me a line.

In the meantime, my heartiest congratulations to the trio. Well done, guys!

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Epilogue: It’s confirmed – Benjamin Ng is new national U-17 pole vault record holder

This posting is long overdue, and so my deepest apologies to all who have been waiting for some form of confirmation/conclusion/closure over whether Benjamin Ng’s height of 4.30m, cleared at the Singapore Open Track and Field Championships is the new national U-17 record.

As you may recall, I wrote about this confusion in a previous entry (6 Aug 2008) entitled “So who is the national U-17 pole vault record holder? Solomon Tan or Benjamin Ng? The SAA says…”

I tried writing to the SAA to shed some light on the issue but Christina Tay, the CEO of the national sports body, declined to accomodate my request because “in view of your anonymity, we feel it inappropriate to make further comment,” she said. 

Fair play to them but I felt the reply was a disservice to the local athletics scene nonetheless.

A day later, I received a pleasant surprise via email.

A long-time observer of the local pole vault scene wrote to explain why Solomon Tan’s height of 4.35m, which he set at the 2001 National Schools Track and Field Championships, has not been recognised as the national U-17 mark.

I am going to reproduce his letter below. He has asked to remain anonymous.

But before I do so, my apologies to him and to all for the delay in putting this up. I was caught up with covering the Beijing Olympics during that period. Also, I felt that this entry would have been lost in the string of entries I posted about the Olympics.

Now that Olympic fever has died down, this is probably the best time to put this up. 

My thanks to the reader who sent the email.

And to all school teachers and coaches out there, please take his advice seriously – if you want your athletes’ achievements to be listed in the national record books, you’ve got to follow the proper procedures. Let us all do our bit – for the sake of local athletics, and for the sake of Singapore sport.

Meanwhile, my heartiest congratulations to Benjamin Ng for setting the new national U-17 record. I wish you all the best in your fledgling pole-vaulting career and hope to see you continuing to soar to new heights.  

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan


Email from a reader (received 7 Aug 2008):

Hi! Singapore Sports Fan,


I hope that I can help to answer your questions with regards to the Singapore National Men Under 17 Record.


Solomon Tan of The Chinese High School (now known as Hwa Chong Institution) cleared 4.35m at the 2001 National Inter-Schools Track & Field Championships. His birthdate is 28 April 1985, then 16 years of age by 31 December 2001 (under IAAF rules the age calculation is based on the last day of the competition year).


However, in 2001, the CCAB (Co-curricular Activities Branch of MOE) used teachers of various participating schools as officials. Thus, the supposed record height of 4.35m was not ratified. It was only in 2003 or 2004 that CCAB employed Singapore Athletics Association’s (SAA) IAAF certified officials.


IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) Rule 149 states that “No performance accomplished by an athlete will be valid unless it is accomplished during an official competition organised in conformity with IAAF Rules”.


Furthermore, for SAA to recognise and ratify records, the proper procedure (I suppose) would be CCAB sending official results of the event to SAA with the signatories of the certified IAAF officials involving in officiating the event. Unfortunately, CCAB has never done so before.


In addition, prior to the 2005 National Junior Championships, the pole vault was competed as an open category event, i.e. as long as you are a junior, you compete together with the seniors.


2005 was the year the Under 17 Category was introduced (for your interest, Under 15 category was introduced in 2007. In the same year, SAA started the Pole Vault Series organised on every last Saturday of the month).


At the 2005 National Junior Championships, the Pole Vault Men under 17 category was won by James Ting Jia Liang of Victoria School (born in 1989) with the height of 4.05m (April 2005). Hence, this height became the official Under 17 Record.


A bit of history: in March 2007, Jacob Yao Jun Jie of Catholic High (born 1992) lifted the record to 4.10m and then cleared 4.15m in April 2008 before Sean Lim (born 1993) scaled a 4.16m at this year’s National Junior Championships in June.


(Here’s another piece of information which may interest you: after that 4.16m record, Sean Lim cleared 4.20m on 28 Jun 2008 (2008 Pole Vault Series #6). But there were no certified IAAF officials around, hence the results were not ratified).


My purpose of answering all your questions is my hope that our local athletes can be educated through your sites with regards to the proper procedures of obtaining verified documents of competition results and sending them to SAA for record ratification.


If you run through the National Schools’ Records, you may also find that A Girls’ Triple Jump record is farther than the current National Record and some others I suppose. All have not been ratified for the same reasons stated above.


The senior men Pole Vault record would have been 4.79m by Mr. Ng Kean Mun and not 4.66m by Mr. Mok Hay Foo if Mr. Ng, then studying in Nebraska, USA, knew about this requirement.


I hope and very much appreciate that you would not name me when writing your report.

<end of email>


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