Lynette Lim has done it again.
After setting a new national record of 11.79m in the triple jump at last year’s National Schools Track and Field Championships, the Victoria Junior College student repeated her achievement when she leapt 11.89m in the Girls A Div final at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Thursday.
The Straits Times reported on Friday that Lynette’s effort meant that she set seven records at the same time with her sixth and final attempt in the sand pit. Apart from the National Open and A Div records, her effort also rewrote the Schools National mark as well as the National Junior, National U-19, National U-17 and Youth Best Performance records. That’s a really nice long feather to put on ones cap.
I thought however, that TODAY’s report (see below) had an interesting take on the situation – which was that Lynette is not interested in becoming a full-time athlete in future, and prefers to focus on her studies even though she is the best in the discipline in Singapore.
Her parents feel the same, and it is easy to see why – her leap, despite being a national record, is about 3 metres away from being among the best in South-east Asia, and 3m is quite a gulf to conquer in a discipline like the triple jump.
In other words, local standards in some athletics disciplines are still a long way from even South-east Asian standards.
So is it worth turning full-time just to try to overcome such a huge gap, with the chances of success considered slim, at best?
But it will be good if Lynette is able to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games at the Asian qualifying trials in Bangkok in May. Young athletes should always aspire to achieve feats that they have the potential to realise. And if she does qualify, then maybe at the YOG, Lynette and her coach will have an idea of where she really stands among her peers in the region, and, subsequently, be better able to make a more informed decision about her future in the sport.
In the meantime, congratulations to Lynette. And congratulations too to the trio of Joel Koh, Dong Dexin (both Hwa Chong Institution) and Raphael Soh (Raffles Institution) for all going under the Boys A Div 5,000m record on Thursday. Their times of 26min 43.01sec, 27:06.32 and 27:20.98 all went under Karthik Muthu s/o Supramanian’s A Div and Schools National record of 29:04.02 which was set in 2011.
Unfortunately, for Dexin and Rafael, only Joel’s name will appear in the record books. To the winner goes all the spoils, as the saying goes.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan
By Ian De Cotta
SINGAPORE — For the second straight year, the national women’s triple jump record tumbled at the feet of Lynette Lim, but the achievement was especially sweet for the athlete as it was written at the Singapore National Schools Track and Field Championships yesterday.
In setting the new national standard of 11.89m at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, the Victoria Junior College student re-wrote the record she set last year at the same meet by another 10cm.
Only 16, Lynette’s development as an athlete at this stage seems to hold plenty of promise, but it is a career that could very well end after her A-Levels next year.
It is a prospect her coach John Seem is not looking forward to, as he believes the triple jumper is on track to breach the 12m mark in competition before the end of the year.
Lynette, he added, is focused on furthering her studies and has not given much thought to training full-time or building a career as a sportswoman. She, at least, has the backing of Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) President Tang Weng Fei, who cautioned against pushing young athletes against their will.
“There is too much talk about getting our young athletes to train full time and I am a little uncomfortable with this,” said Tang.
“I met Lynette’s parents on Sunday and they also want her to concentrate on her studies, but I also think she should be given room to enjoy herself first. There is still ample time if she changes her mind later.”
While Tang said Lynette is making good progress that could eventually lead to an elite athlete’s pathway programme, there is still a lot of work to be done before she could be on the same level as sprinter Shanti Pereira, the 17-year-old who finished fourth in the 200m at last December’s SEA Games in Myanmar and is widely regarded as a medal prospect for next year’s edition in Singapore.
But the new women’s triple jump national mark is still the third-lowest in the region, where the 14.17m record set at Naypyidaw is held by Indonesia’s Maria Natalia Londa. It also below the 12.29m bronze medal placing at last year’s SEA Youth Athletics championship in Vietnam, a target Tang said Lynette should aim for.
With the progress the teenager is making, Seem is confident it can be reached next year, although the focus now is to qualify for the August Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.
Said Seem: “Lynette is already doing 12m during training and I think the long jump competition two days ago may have tired her. If she continues making progress, I am sure she’ll do 13m within two years, that is if she is still training. We are now preparing for the Asian Area Qualifying for the Youth Olympics in Bangkok on May 21 and 22. The qualifying mark is 11.7m and only the top two in Asia will get to go.”