Tag Archives: Nanyang Polytechnic

SEA Games: James Wong outclasses the field to easily win his eighth discus gold

The former King came out of retirement — and was promptly crowned the king of the discus once again at the South-east Asian Games today.

Yes, despite retiring from his beloved sport two and a half years ago, and sitting out the 2007 SEA Games in Korat, James Wong showed this afternoon that the passing of time has not diminished his ability to outclass the region’s best discus throwers whenever they gather every two years.

The 40-year-old Nanyang Polytechnic lecturer’s latest victory means that he has now won the SEA Games gold for the eighth time. He won his first gold back in 1993 and successfully defended it until his retirement after the 2005 Manila Games.

In fact, Wong, who only resumed training in February,  practically won the event yesterday with his first throw of 52.18m.

The distance remained unsurpassed by the rest of the seven-strong field although Thailand’s K. Numsomboon came close with his sixth and final throw of 52.15m.

But by then, Wong had already thrown the discus further twice. He had registered 52.53m on his fourth throw before unleashing his best effort of the day — 53.60m — with his final attempt.

Truth be told, it is clear that time is slowly winning its battle against Wong.

After all, his winning distance was six metres lower than his national record of 59.87m set 10 years ago in 1999.

But that will not matter to Wong. After all, he had achieved two of his objectives in Laos: to reclaim the gold medal, and to ensure that Singapore athletics would come back from Vientiane with at least one title.

Now the question remains: Will Wong continue to compete in the SEA Games in 2011. From the looks of things, he may have to in order to stretch Singapore’s dominance in the event until the young but impressive Scott Wong finally comes of age.

The 20-year-old national serviceman may have finished a commendable fourth but his best distance of 44.95m was still eight metres shy of the bronze-medal winning distance of 52.02m set by Thailand’s Wansawang Sawasdee.

The Singapore Sports Fan would like to congratulate Wong on his great performance and looks forward to seeing him in action again in two years’ time.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Newsflash: Sean Lim vaults his way to new national junior record

Talented young pole vaulter Sean Lim broke his third national record of the year today when he set a new national junior record during the Boys’ U-17 Pole Vault event at the 35th Singapore Junior Athletics Championships.

The 16-year-old Hwa Chong Institution student, who has already broken the National U-17  record twice this year – in April (when he cleared 4.36m at the 50th Schools National Track and Field Championships) and in May (when he soared 4.50m during the Singapore Athletic Association’s Pole Vault Series 3) – added another 11cm to his personal best with his 4.61m winning effort today.

It broke the National Junior record of 4.60m set by Solomon Tan in 2003.

After accomplishing his record-breaking feat in his first vault, Sean then set the bar at 4.67m in a valiant attempt to break the National Open record of 4.66m (by Mok Hay Foo, 1993). However, he did not manage to do so with his second vault.

Sean then raised the bar to 4.70m for his last two vaults but also did not manage to clear the bar. He will be gunning for the national record this weekend at the Swift Open.

Meanwhile, Nanyang Polytechnic student Akid Chong bettered the men’s National Open record of 59.22m (Ng Bock Huat, 1988) when he won the Boys U-20 Javelin event (800g) with his best effort of 60.47m.

However, I am given to understand that the 18-year-old’s effort will not be recognised as a national record as he is a Singapore permanent resident. Only Singapore citizens can be named as national record holders. 

It will, however, be a new meet record (old meet record: 53.62m by Huang Huaren in 1992). (Note from SSF: I do not know why Akid’s winning throw of 53.70m at last year’s SJAC was subsequently not listed as the meet record for this year’s competition even though it had surpassed Huang Huaren’s meet record of 53.62m)

Said Akid in an interview with yours truly:  “I have considered applying for citizenship before but I am not able to because both my parents are Malaysian. I’ll have to wait until I am 21. 

“Still, getting my distance recognised as the meet record is good enough. I hope to continue to help raise the standard of javelin throwing in Singapore.”

Akid’s perennial arch-rival Koh Thong En took the silver with his 55.19m effort.

However, as the Victoria Junior College student’s distance is further than Huang Huaren’s national junior mark of 53.62m, Thong En will be recognised as the new national junior record holder.

Four other new meet records were established today, three by jumpers from national jumps coach Valeri Obidko’s stable.

Stefan Tseng broke the Boys U-20 triple jump meet record of 14.21m (set by Tan Lee Ken in 1977) when he cleared 15.80m. However, he failed to secure his ticket to this year’s SEA Games in Laos. The national record holder (16.04m) needed to clear 16.o7m in order to qualify for Laos.

Likewise, Mariam Shazana set a new Girls U-20 triple jump meet record with her winning distance of 11.50m (old record: 11.19m by Pan Peiting) but failed to qualify for the IAAF World Youth Championships.

The 17-year-old, who holds the national record of 11.70m, needs to clear 12m in order to qualify for the Championships which will be held in Italy in July.

She has one more opportunity to do so – at next week’s SEA Junior Championships.    

Finally, Singapore Sports School student Nurshaishireen Mohd Rahim set a new meet record in the Girls U-17 triple jump when she cleared 11.05m. Her effort was a centimetre further than Gail Chia’s meet record of 11.04m set in 2006.

Javelin thrower Tan Zhi Hao of Hwa Chong Institution won the Boys U-17 event with his 53.18m effort and bettered the previous meet record of 51.48m. 

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Related links:

6 May 2009 – Newsflash: Pole vaulter Sean Lim breaks national U-17 mark again  

2 July 2008 – The SSF Interview: Akid looking to spear national mark next

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The SSF Interview: Akid looking to spear national mark next

BUOYED by his national junior record-breaking feat at the recent 34th Singapore Junior Athletics Championships last week, javelin thrower Akid Chong is now setting his sights on spearing two much-bigger prize catches in the next two years.

In an interview with the Singapore Sports Fan, the 17-year-old Nanyang Polytechnic student revealed that he is now gunning for the 20-year-old national open mark of 59.22m ( by Ng Bock Huat in 1988 ) by the end of the year.

Once that mission is accomplished, the second-year Sports and Wellness Management undergraduate plans to turn his sights on representing Singapore in the South-east Asia Games one day.

Akid, who is of Chinese and Malay parentage and has a 31-year-old elder brother, still remembers vividly how stunned he was at the Bukit Gombak Stadium on 22 June, the last day of the Championships, when he heard the judges announcing his new national junior record.

His distance of 53.70m had erased Huang Huaren’s 16-year-old record of 53.25m.

“Honestly, I was confident of throwing a good distance because I actually threw an unofficial 55.35m at the Wings Invitational meet the previous week,” said Akid who also won a gold at the Akira Swift Open with his 50m effort.

“But even then, I was still shocked when the judges announced that my throw was a new national junior record.”

Here’s another reason why Akid was shocked: he only went into competitive throwing last year when he joined Nanyang Polytechnic. In other words, he never thought he would end up breaking any major records so quickly.

Before that, the former Teck Whye Secondary School badminton player had never represented his alma mater in the javelin at national schools level. 

“I picked up the javelin in Secondary One but I only threw for my house in Teck Whye,” explained Akid. “I never threw for school because our Track and Field team was closed down after Mr Choo and our seniors left.”

He was referring to former Teck Whye throws coach Choo Chee Kiong who single-handedly created that awe-inspiring golden generation of Teck Whye throwers that regularly swept most of the field titles at stake at several National Schools Track and Field Championships in the late 1990s.

And because he was just a house thrower, Akid never seriously trained for the sport.

But that all changed after he entered Nanyang last year. “Now I know how much more I can possibly achieve with a proper training programme,” said Akid who won a silver in the event at the Inter-Varsity-Polytechnic Track and Field Championships last year.

In fact, he credits one member of that Teck Whye Golden Generation – Chen Jin Long – for helping him to pick up the javelin again when he joined Nanyang Polytechnic last year and refining his throwing techniques.

“I also have to thank Mr Muhamad Hosni, who is the sprints coach of NYP Athletics, and Mr Guru Oly, who is the NYP staff in charge of athletics,” he said.

“Last year, I was still toying with playing badminton. But they all advised me to choose between the two sports and to concentrate on my final choice. It was because of them that I finally became serious about the javelin this year.”

Even then, he never expected to break the national junior record so soon.

But now that he has done so, the feat has effectively opened up his mind to new possibilities and new targets to conquer. Such as the national open record and qualifying for the SEA Games one day.

And Akid knows what he needs to do to get there.

“I really have to work on my strength training and on improving my explosive power,” said the NYP Athletics skipper who trains three times a week with Jin Long and goes to Hosni to work on his speed.

“I also have to work on my techniques and run-up.

“Finally, I have to stay focused, disciplined and positive. It is not easy trying to juggle studies and sports. In fact, it is very easy to fall into the temptation of being lazy about evening training after a full day of school.

“But now that I know what I can achieve with hard work, I’ll be working extra hard from now on to get to the next level.

“I want to break the national record and I want to represent Singapore at the SEA Games one day.”

Here’s wishing Akid all the best as he pursues his sporting dreams.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

(Note: Photos courtesy of Akid Chong and nypathletics.blogspot.com)

Related links:

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

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