Tag Archives: IAAF World Junior Championships

Matthew Goh could have been a potential bronze medallist at the IAAF World Juniors

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

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Newsflash: Early exit for Stefan at World Juniors

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

Related links:

9 July: Newsflash – Calvin Kang qualifies for World Junior 100m semis

7 July: Newsflash – Silver and bronze for S’pore at Hong Kong meet

22 June: Newsflash – Calvin shows consistency, Stefan’s preparations take a small dent

20 June: Month-long German stint for World Juniors qualifiers Calvin and Stefan

14 June – Newsflash: Stefan shatters national jumps record at Asian Juniors


13 June – Newsflash: Calvin Kang rewrites national junior 100m mark

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