Asian Games: Gunning for national record

Asian Games: Gunning for national record

Singapore's men's 4x100m relay team have a few targets on their minds when they step out on the tartan track for the final at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium on Thursday.

To exorcise the demons of a botched baton exchange during the 2010 Guangzhou Games which ended their Asiad adventure.

To give the best possible send-off for outgoing coach Melvin Tan.

To record a new national mark.

Yesterday evening, the quartet of Calvin Kang, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei and Elfi Mustapa recorded a season's best time of 39.80 seconds in Heat Two to book their spot in the final.

Kang burst out of the blocks and recorded a reaction time of 0.150s, the best among the nine nations competing in the two heats. Singapore kept pace with Japan until close to the final exchange, where the Japanese anchor managed to open up a sizeable lead over the Republic's Elfi Mustapa.

Japan, who are the fastest Asian nation this year with a time of 38.34, finished first in 39.18s.

Singapore's time bettered their previous best this year, a 39.93 recorded at the Hong Kong Inter-City Athletics Championships in June. But it is still some way off their national record of 39.45, clocked at the Asian Grand Prix in Chonburi, Thailand, last May. Kang, though, is optimistic that the team can do well on Thursday.

"We had a good run today. Our main goal was to qualify for the final and we did it," the 24-year-old told The New Paper yesterday. "Our passing was safe today and, for the final, we will be extending the passing exchange ones to go for maximum passing speed.

"We are dropping our times, with a good push in the final, we will be aiming to better the national record."

While they aim to gun down their own national record, the team will no doubt have the debacle from the last Asiad at the back of their minds.

Then, they failed to finish their heat after Yeo, the first runner, had twice failed to pass the baton to Elfi using a "risky" method, which the team hoped it would increase their speed during baton exchanges.

Yesterday, Thailand recorded their own season's best with a time of 39.25, which was the fourth-best time in the heats. Hosts South Korea were the fastest team with a time of 38.97, followed by China (39.07) and Japan.



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