Tag Archives: Kenneth Wang Kan

Hakeem breaks Singapore’s oldest track record

The report:

This tiny report appeared in today’s edition of TODAY (17 Dec 2008) amid all the buzz that’s been generated over Singapore’s Suzuki Cup semi-final clash with Vietnam.

I’m reproducing it here for the benefit of those who may have missed it:

Hakeem breaks oldest national track record 


By Tan Yo-Hinn


SINGAPORE’S oldest national record in athletics has finally fallen.


Last night, hurdler Abdul Hakeem Abdul Halim re-wrote the 110m hurdles record when he clocked 14.45sec to clinch silver at the 14th Asean University Games (Dec 10-21) at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 21-year-old shaved 0.31s off the previous mark of 14.76s, set 42 years ago by Osman Merican at the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok.


The race was won by Malaysia’s Robani Hassan (14.07), with Thailand’s Suriya Judasri taking the bronze (14.55).


Hakeem’s previous personal best was 14.77s set last year.


The 1.83 metre-tall 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medallist could feature at next year’s SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos. He still has some way to go to catch up with Malaysia’s Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian, who won the 110m hurdles at last year’s SEA Games in Korat, Thailand in a new Games record of 13.91s.

My thoughts:

My heartiest congratulations to Hakeem for breaking Singapore’s oldest track record.

I seriously can’t believe it’s been 42 years since Osman Merican first set the men’s 110m hurdles record – nor the fact that almost HALF A CENTURY had to pass before it was ever eclipsed.

But it was also good of the reporter – Tan Yo-Hinn – to put the achievement in context.

Hakeem may have brought the number of new national open and junior records that have been set this year to 19, and he may have brought the curtains down on what has been a pretty good year for Singapore athletics.

But the fact remains that his time was 0.38sec slower than eventual winner Robani Hassan of Malaysia.

Hakeem’s time is also about 0.56sec off the 13.91sec set by Malaysia’s Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian when he won the SEA Games gold last year. Incidentally, that time is a new Games record.

So the facts are clear for all to see:  while we rejoice at seeing new levels of excellence being set in Singapore athletics, our new standards – with the exception of Stefan Tseng in the triple jump – are not gold-winning material even at SEA Games level. 

My hope is that this new breakthrough will spur Hakeem on to greater heights (or times) in 2009. And I do hope to see him finishing among the medals at next year’s SEA Games.

After all, it will be a real treat to see a local talent winning something on the track for once instead of us always having to rely on foreign recruits to win medals in the throws, as has been the case these past few years.

To end, here’s the list of national open and junior records that have been broken so far this year, based on my research. I don’t claim that the list is comprehensive so if you think I may have missed out on any marks, please let me know and I will duly make the corrections.

National Open Records – 7

1. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.71m by Stefan Tseng*

2. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.78m by Stefan Tseng*

3. Men’s Long Jump – 7.41m by Kenneth Wang Kan

4. Men’s Long Jump – 7.45m by Calvin Cheng

5. Men’s 110m Hurdles – 14.45sec by Abdul Hakeem Abdul Halim

6. Women’s Pole Vault – 3.60m by Rachel Yang

7. Women’s Triple Jump – 11.66m by Mariam Shazana*


National Junior Records – 12

1. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.71m by Stefan Tseng*

2. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.78m by Stefan Tseng* 

3. Men’s Long Jump – 7.22m by Matthew Goh

4. Men’s Long Jump – 7.23m by Matthew Goh

5. Men’s Long Jump – 7.45m by Calvin Cheng

6. Men’s Javelin – 53.70m by Akid Chong

7. Men’s Javelin – 54.14m by Koh Thong En

8. Men’s 100m – 10.53sec by Calvin Kang

9. Men’s Discus (1.75kg) – 49.60m by Scott Wong

10. Men’s Shot Put (6kg) – 14.88m by Scott Wong

11. Women’s Triple Jump – 11.66m by Mariam Shazana*

12. Women’s 100m – 12.23sec by Balpreet Kaur


Note: Stefan and Mariam also broke the national and national junior records (15.71m and 11.63m respectively) at the British Age-Group Indoor Championships in February. But those marks are not recognised by the SAA as they occured indoors. If they had been, then we would be looking at a total of 8 new national open marks and 12 new national junior marks so far this year. 


Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Related links:

24 June 2008 – Fields of gold: 14 national open and junior records and counting!

2 July -The SSF Interview: Akid looking to spear national mark next

6 July – And Balpreet makes it 15 (pity thate two others slipped away though)

5 Aug – Newsflash: Thong En spears down national junior record

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Newsflash: Silver and bronze for Singapore at HK track meet

Singapore came away with a silver and a bronze from the Hong Kong Inter-City Athletics Championships over the weekend.

National long jumper Kenneth Wang Kan leapt 7.24m at the Wanchai Sports Ground to finish second in the men’slong jump, behind China’s Yang Kai who took the gold with 7.34m.

The 21-year-old national serviceman started off with a poor 6.86m before clearing 7.24m on his second leap. He then faulted o his third jump before recording a 7.11m on his fourth. He then faulted on his last two jumps.

Still, it looked like Kenneth,who has a personal best of 7.41m, would come away with the gold – until Yang Kai cleared 7.34m on his last jump. 

Meanwhile, national junior record holder Chia Chang Yi finished third in the men’s shot put final. The former Teck Whye Secondary thrower took the bronze with his 13.80m effort, which was 0.47m off his naional junior mark of 14.27m which he set in 2004.

Taiwan’s Chen Chia Hung took the gold with 15.44m while Hong Kong’s Chiu Lap San was second with 14.14m.

Meanwhile, national sprinter Calvin Kang wrapped up his preparations for this coming weekend’s IAAF World Junior Championships ( 12 – 13 July ) by winning the men’s 100m final in a slowish 10.73sec at a minor meet in Stuttgart, Germany, on 28 June.

The Stuttgart meet was Calvin’s second in three weeks as part of his month-long training stint in Germany in preparations for the world meet. The 17-year-old student, who holds the national junior record of 10.53sec, took part in the in the Boys’ U-20 100m at the Bahaus Junioren Gala 2008 on 21 June and finished fourth in 10.60sec.

Calvin will also be competing in next month’s Beijing Olympics as a wildcard entry in the 100m.

Things are also looking up for triple jumper Stefan Tseng, the only other Singapore competitor at the World Juniors. The 17-year-old national record holder (15.78m) had been trying to shrug off a niggling pain in his ankle for the past three weeks.   

He won a silver in the Boys U-20 triple jump at the Bahaus Junioren meet but it was achieved via a poor 15.20m, no thanks to the ankle injury which was sustained at the Asian Junior Championships.

Since then, Stefan has been undergoing medical treatment and light training. However, he was able to resume full training yesterday and showed no ill effects from his exertions.

The duo left for Bydgosczc, Poland yesterday, the venue for the World Juniors.

The Singapore Sports Fan wishes both athletes all the best and hope they will fly the Republic’s flag with pride and passion at the World Juniors.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Related links:

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

21 May: Dawn of a new era in Singapore athletics?

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Long jump national record saga: What do you say, SAA?

The report:

This letter was printed in the 29 June edition of The Sunday Times:

Level pit and cover all previous imprints ( The Sunday Times, 29 June 2008 )


I refer to Eric Song’s article in The Sunday Times of June 22, headlined ‘Calvin’s 7.45m is new long jump mark’.  


The feat was achieved under a cloud of controversy, with officials accused of measuring the wrong distance following the two imprints in the sand after Calvin Cheng’s jump.  


What happened on that day must not happen again, if we want to lend credibility to any national records broken.  


In the first place, it was not fair to the athlete breaking the national record as it would cast a shadow of doubt. It would also not be fair to the previous national record-holder if the assessment of the new mark was not in line with international standards.   


Imagine a soccer match in which the coach or team manager and other observers were able to go on to the field and have a dialogue with the referee and linesman on whether the goal should be allowed.


Back to athletics. This controversial long jump result would not have happened, if the pit was properly levelled to cover all previous imprints before each jump and the two officials were attentive to the proceedings.  


If the officials who were next to the pit could not be 100 per cent sure of the jump imprint, how could others who were much further away? We need to upgrade the skills of our officials, so as not to take away the glory from an athlete.  


Goh Hock Siang  

My thoughts:

I posted this letter because I thought it was really well-written and well-argued.

Most importantly, it asks the most important question that had remained unasked in the media reports of promising young jumper Calvin Cheng’s national record-breaking feat during the Boys U-20 long jump at the recently-concluded 34th Singapore Junior Athletics Championships:

Why wasn’t the pit properly levelled by the judges before Calvin’s record-breaking jump of 7.45m, which erased Kenneth Wang Kan’s previous record of 7.41m?   

Clearly, it hadn’t been, and clearly the two judges at the pit weren’t attentive enough during the jump. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been two imprints in the pit after Calvin’s jump, causing confusion among the judges (who had ruled the distance as 6.94m before doing a re-measurement upon Calvin’s coach’s protest and eventually declaring the final distance as 7.45m).

“We need to upgrade the skills of our officials so as not to take away the glory from an athlete”, said Mr Goh.

Hear, hear.

Mr Goh is spot on. Because of all the confusion surrounding the judges’ decisions, two athletes have been emotionally affected by the whole saga.

Kenneth is naturally upset because his national record has been taken away from him under such dubious circumstances, while Calvin must now put up with unneccessary doubts from some quarters about the authenticity of his record-breaking distance, until he gets another competitive opportunity to prove his critics wrong.

Sure, Singapore Athletics Association vice-president Loh Lin Yeow has come out publicly to defend his judges’ final decision – that the 7.45m distance is correct, and a new national record.

But that doesn’t alter the fact that ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IN THE FIRST PLACE. And unfortunately, because it wasn’t, I feel that the SAA is all to blame for all this.

I mean, it is really pathetic to think that certain standards of judging and officiating could not be maintained at the Singapore Junior Athletics Championships, which is one of the few annual national-level events featuring the cream of the local junior athletics scene.  

It will be interesting to see if there is a reply from the SAA to Mr Goh’s letter in this weekend’s issue of The Sunday Times.

I really hope there is. Otherwise, the silence from the national body would be very damning.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

(Note: Picture of jumper taken from images.beijing-2008.org. Picture of “Judging the Judges” book cover from www.jeffooi.com)

Related links:

24 June – Fields of gold: 14 new national open and junior records and counting!

21 June – Newsflash: Calvin Cheng smashes national long jump mark at S’pore Juniors 

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