Tag Archives: Teck Whye Secondary

Wonderful Saturday: Ting Wen breaks national record; Lay Chi qualifies for SEA Games

The reports:

I found these two small reports in today’s edition of The Sunday Times.

Quah Ting Wen’s breaking of Joscelin Yeo’s national 50m freestyle record at the National Age-Group Swimming Championships was a seven-paragraph report dwarved by the story it was placed next to – that of unknown Chinese shuttler Wang Yihan who emerged out of nowhere to defeat Denmark’s Tine Rasmussen to take the All-England women singles title:

Ting Wen breaks Jos’ 50m mark (The Sunday Times, 15 March 2009)


By Jonathan Wong


Quah Ting Wen yesterday lowered the women’s national 50 metres freestyle record to 25.80 seconds.


The Raffles Junior College student, 17, rewrote Joscelin Yeo’s 2005 record of 26.13sec at the National Age Group Swimming Championships at the Singapore Sports School.


‘I’m very happy and surprised. My training hasn’t changed much and I didn’t prepare specifically for this competition,” she said.


‘I just try to swim my best at each race and not to think too much about breaking records. It’s a pleasant bonus though.’


Her effort also secured her the Under-17 record, a day after Amanda Lim had broken Ting Wen’s previous best of 26.39 by seven hundredths of a second.


It was Ting Wen’s second national record. She had broken another of Joscelin’s records at the Beijing Olympics last year, clocking 4min 51.25sec for the 400m individual medley.


In other races Shana Lim, 15, eclipsed Tao Li’s Under-17 national mark in the 100m backstroke in 1:03.42 and Lionel Khoo, 13, bettered his previous bests in the 50m (30.53) and 100m breaststroke (1:06.89). Joseph Schooling, also 13, claimed a personal-best in the 100m butterfly (59.40).


The meet ends tomorrow.

The report of national discus thrower Wan Lay Chi qualifying for the SEA Games was even smaller – a three-paragraph write-up in the Sports Briefs column:

Wan’s best throw (The Sunday Times, 15 March 2009)


Wan Lay Chi set a personal best of 47.74 metres in winning the discus throw at the 3rd All-Comers Athletics Meet at Gombak Stadium yesterday.


Her previous best was 47.17m in another All-Comers meet three years ago.


To add to the 19-year-old’s joy, she also met the qualification mark of 45.73m for December’s South-east Asia Games in Laos.

My thoughts:

I felt it was a real pity that the feats of these two young local athletes ended up being given such limited coverage.

Sure, I can understand the newspapers’ need to serve the interests of its readers and focus on stories which they think, hence the huge coverage given to the Liverpool-Manchester United game and other EPL matches.

I guess the people behind the sports pages must have also felt that the lifting of Malaysia Cup hero Abbas Saad’s lifetime ban in Singapore was also significant news (especially for those who can still remember the Malaysia Cup days) and as such, merited in that full-page profile piece on the retired Australian footballer, now a youth coach in Sydney.

But I still can’t help feeling that more coverage (or editorial acreage, in journalistic parlance) could have been given to the achievements of these two young and upcoming members of Team Singapore.

I mean, here are two wonderful moments of achievement in local sport for us to savour, by young, local emerging athletes. And yet this is all the amount of space that can be spared for them?

Look at what Ting Wen has accomplished: she broke Joscelin Yeo’s long-standing national 50m freestyle record by 0.5secs. It is also the second time she has broken a mark set by Joscelin Yeo.

Ting Wen’s feat means two things – that

 a) our one-time swim queen Joscelin Yeo is slowly but surely being erased from the national record books and

b) that Ting Wen is slowly coming of age and emerging as a top-class swimmer that Singapore can count on to deliver a couple of individual  SEA Games gold medals at Laos at the end of the year.

After all, from 1993 to 2005, Joscelin was practically the saviour of the Singapore Amateur Swimming Association, and the queen of Singapore sports.

She would single-handedly deliver most of the swimming golds for Singapore at the SEA Games.

And thanks to her, Singapore would end up toting up a respectable haul of golds at the biennial regional Games and finishing a respectable fifth in the overall medal standings.

Most of her national records were also SEA Games records.

Honestly, I would have preferred to have read more about Ting Wen than Wang Lihan today.

Likewise, it would have been nice to read more about Lay Chi in today’s papers. Doesn’t qualifying for the SEA Games warrant more space than three paragraphs?

After all, it means that the 21-year-old thrower – who is seen as the local successor to the China-born Zhang Guirong – has now met the bronze-medal winning distance of the previous SEA Games,  the qualifying benchmark for this year’s Games.

And really, it’s been quite a while since we’ve heard of any news of this former Teck Whye Secondary School student, who, incidentally, was part of the generation of promising throwers that the school produced in the late 1990s under the tutelage of Choo Chee Kiong.

 I last read about her at the 2007 SEA Games in Korat where she finished fourth in the shot put, missing the bronze by a mere 0.19m.

Six months before that, she was also Singapore’s sole gold medal winner at the 2nd South-east Asian Junior Athletics Championships. She also set a new national age-group record with her 13.26m throw in the shot -put.

Singapore Amateur Athletics Association supremo Loh Lin Kok was even quoted as saying that he would be giving her an open ticket to train anywhere because of her talent.

So, yes, it would have been really nice if these two young ladies were given more significant coverage in today’s papers as a way of recognising their achievements and efforts.

It would have also gone a long way in helping to raise the stature of local sports, and the profiles of young local athletes who are going to be our flag-bearers on the international sporting stage (even if the stage is a lowish-level platform like the SEA Games).

So, my heartiest congratulations to Ting Wen and Lay Chi. I hope your achievements will help to spur you on to greater heights this year, especially at the SEA Games.

Shame about the lack of coverage though.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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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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Fields of gold: 16 new national open and junior records and counting!

The report:

This came out as a sports brief in The Straits Times yesterday (23 June 2008 ) so I’m just reproducing it here for those who may have missed it:

SPORTS WORLD (The Straits Times, 23 June 2008 )


Akid rewrites javelin mark


NANYANG Polytechnic student Akid Chong set a new national junior javelin record at the 34th Singapore Junior Athletics Championships yesterday.


He threw 53.70 metres to win the Under-20 final at the Gombak Stadium and eclipse the previous mark of 53.62m set by Huang Huaren in 1992.


Hwa Chong Institution (High School) pole vaulter Sean Lim leapt 4.16m to break Jacob Yao’s Under-17 mark of 4.10m set last year.



My thoughts:


Great to learn that another national junior record was broken over the weekend, this time at the 34th Singapore Juniors. Heartiest congratulations to Akid Chong for his new national junior javelin mark.


Here’s a shout-out too to pole vaulter Sean Lim. Here’s hoping he will eventually break the national junior record (4.60m by Solomon Tan in 2003 ) and that the national open record will follow soon after (4.66m by Mok Hay Foo, 1993 ) soon after.


Just thought I’d provide a service to all followers of the local athletics scene by listing out all the national Open and national junior records that have been broken this year to date. As mentioned before, it’s a pretty impressive haul. More significantly, it’s continuing to grow.


Here’s the list to date:


National Open Records – 6

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

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


National Junior Records – 10

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 100m – 10.53sec by Calvin Kang

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

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

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


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 10 new national junior marks so far this year. 


Have I missed out on any other records? If so, please let me know either by dropping me a comment or sending me a mail at sporesportsfan@yahoo.com.sg. Thanks. Your help will go a long way in helping me to maintain the accuracy of the statistics.


What’s also significant is that most of the records, save for the 100m national junior record, are coming from field events. This suggests one thing to me: that perhaps this, and not the track events, is Singapore’s niche area, and that the SAA should strongly consider spending more time and pouring more resources into.


That was just what Teck Whye Secondary did in the late 1990s. It realised that it did not have any runners so it focused on training its students in the throws.


And it was a smart move that paid off handsomely because the school would consistently finish in the top five in the overall standings at the National Schools Track and Field Championships with its golds in the throws, and without a single track win! (Amazing, their throws coach, Choo Chee Kiong wasn’t even a trained throws coach in the first place – he was a former youth gymnast!)


And today, Teck Whye alumni Wan Lay Chi (shot put and discus) and Chia Chiangyi (shot put) are now national junior record holders of their respective disciplines.


It’s also great to see old-time national records being wiped off the slate.


If you look at the list of national open and junior marks, you can see that there are some records that are still around from the 1960s, 1970s and early 80s. Clearly, standards have, up to the new millenium, either stagnated or plummeted over the years, leaving us with in a very embarrassing situation.


I mean, doesn’t anyone feel shy that Osman Merican’s 110m national record of 14.76sec, which was set in 1966, is still the standard to beat in Singapore athletics today?


That is why I am always puzzled when newspapers ask former athletes whether they feel sad that their long-standing records have been broken. Why should they feel sad? They should be naturally happy that someone has breached the mark because it means that Singapore athletics has taken a step forward.


Likewise, I was a little disturbed by what Kenneth Wang Kan supposedly said in the report in The Sunday Times (22 June 2008 ) on Calvin Cheng breaking the men’s long jump record. This is the excerpt from the report on Kenneth’s reaction:


Wang, who was not at the competition, heard of the record and subsequent versions of the judging process.


…The 21-year-old full-time national serviceman then rushed to the stadium to seek clarification from observers and officials at the pit.


After speaking with the Field Referee, Wang said: ‘I am still puzzled by the judging process. The announcement of the jump’s distance had already been made, so how could the performance mark be changed just because of some protests?  I feel the judging was done in an unfair and unjust way.’


He has lodged an appeal with the Singapore Athletic Association 


Why lodge an appeal? After all, the SAAA, through its vice-president Loh Lin Yeow, had already declared the new distance as official.


Honestly, it would have really been better if Kenneth had expressed happiness that his training mate had broken his record and had said that he looked forward to the new challenge of getting his name back into the record books by the end of the year.


Here’s to more national records being broken and to athletes spurring and encouraging their training mates onto greater heights, longer distances and better times.


Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan


Related links:


21 June – Newsflash: Calvin Cheng smashes national long jump mark at Singapore Juniors

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

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

11 June – Rachel vaults to a new high

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




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