July 13, 2023
BANGKOK – It has been a long season for Singapore’s track and field athletes, but unfinished business is what is keeping them going ahead of the Sept 23-Oct 8 Asian Games.
Middle-distance runner Goh Chui Ling’s season began in Melbourne, where she was teaching at the University of Melbourne, and has seen her travel to Europe for training as well as back to South-east Asia for the Cambodia SEA Games and the ongoing Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok over the last seven months.
While she felt like she did not have her best 1,500m race on Wednesday, Goh is already looking ahead to the 800m where she will be aiming to break the long-standing national record of 2min 07.4sec set by Chee Swee Lee in 1976, which is not far from her personal best of 2:07.79.
She said: “This season is so long… I’ve reached a stage where I’m quite seasoned in racing, but I’m also quite tired of the track. I usually do half on the road, half on track. But because of where I was based, I decided to do track, but it’s OK, it’s a fun year. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts because it’ll not last forever.”
At the Suphachalasai National Stadium on Wednesday, Goh clocked 4:31.28 to finish eighth in the field of 11. The event was won by Japan’s Tanaka Nozomi in a meet record of 4:06.75.
Goh felt that she could have done certain things better in the race but was also pleased to finish in the top eight.
The 30-year-old said: “The weather is just rough (in South-east Asia), but it is just one factor, everything else is just based on your performance and commitment that day. Today I was committed, but I was committed to following the Malaysian (Savinder Kaur who ended ninth).
“I finished the race not feeling completely exhausted, so I knew I made a mistake. But that’s the top eight in Asia, I’ll take it any day so it’s pretty exciting.”
Having won a combined silver and four bronzes at the past two editions of the SEA Games, Goh is relishing the chance to compete at the Asian level.
As she eyes the 800m national record this weekend, she is also hoping for a top-six place at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
She said: “I want to be top six, but it depends on my progression for this meet. Training has been very promising and I’m hopeful. I’m a bit more confident because I’m closer to the mark and closer to the Asian level.”
Also hunting down a national record is the Singapore’s men’s 4x100m relay team comprising Marc Louis, Mark Lee, Calvin Quek and Joshua Chua, who came in seventh in the final on Wednesday with a time of 39.32 seconds, 0.08sec off the current mark.
It was joy for the home crowd as Thailand clinched gold in the event, breaking the championship record with their timing of 38.55sec.
Meanwhile, the national women’s 4x100m relay team clocked 45.60sec to come in sixth in the final won by China (43.35).
While disappointed to miss out on their goal of lowering the national mark, Chua also believes they are on the right track and the team will be hoping to achieve their target in Hangzhou.
He said: “It’s a bit frustrating because we’ve been trying so many races for it but we’ve been showing that we’re getting closer and closer, so that’s a positive sign and we’re a young team. There are many competitions – we’ll keep working towards it, we’re on the right path.”