SEA Games: Launching an all-out assault

SEA Games: Launching an all-out assault

Date
Friday, 16 November 2012

Media Type
TODAY, Sports (Pg 68)

SINGAPORE — The chase for the Republic’s first SEA Games relay gold is now serious business for the national men’s 4x100m team.

At the SEA Games in Palembang last November, the quartet of Calvin Kang, Muhd Amirudin Jamal, Lee Cheng Wei and Gary Yeo missed out on the gold by a whisker after a photo-finish final with eventual gold medallists Indonesia.

Now, the team — which also includes Muhammad Elfi Mustapa and Lim Yao Peng — are considering stopping work or school for a year to train full-time so as to qualify for the 14th IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships in Moscow next August, before taking on the SEA Games in Myanmar in December. Elfi is currently working as a trainee management executive at Seven Seas Oil Trading, while the rest are enrolled in university and the National Institute of Education.

Yeo, 26, told TODAY after the Singapore National Olympic Council Partner Athletes Programme ceremony at Regent Hotel yesterday: “After the Olympics, we realised that individually we can’t do much on the world stage. However, as a team, we are closer to world standards. “Our new national record (39.58sec) at the Asian Grand Prix this year is just 0.3 sec away from the qualifying time for the next world championships.

“After the world champs, we want to win a gold medal at the SEA Games.

“We have talked about it and want to train full-time next year. It is a big sacrifice but we believe we can go further in the sport.

“If we don’t try, we won’t know how far we can go.” Kang — who clocked a new personal best time of 10.52sec at the Thailand Open this month — added: “We felt that this is the best time for us as we are of the right age and our runners are strong.

“We definitely want to win gold at the SEA Games, and hopefully this team will stick together until the 2015 SEA Games here.”

While details are still being worked out, tentative plans for the six include training full-time with coach Melvin Tan for a year, or going on a six-month stint in Florida, United States, to train under renowned speed and conditioning coach Loren Seagrave, who has worked with NFL players and elite athletes like Olympic sprinter Justin Gaitlin.

The Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) told TODAY that they are happy to lend their support to the relay team’s ambitions. Said SAA Vice-President of Training and Selection C Kunalan: “Everyone in the association is very pleased and heartened to hear about what they are trying to do. We will offer support and do whatever we can.

“We will provide support like training facilities and allowances for the runners, and are in discussion with them on their plans moving forward.”

Source: TODAY, Sports (Pg 68), mediacorp