Athletics: Collision course

Athletics: Collision course
National pole vaulter Rachel Yang, 29, will be leaving for China to undergo an eight-month training stint at the Weilun Sports School in Guangzhou. Her aim is to become the first Singaporean to win a pole vault gold at the biennial South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

National women's pole vault champion Rachel Yang is bracing herself for legal action after she did not respond in time to a final warning by the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA).

The 32-year-old has been embroiled in a row with the association since last month, when she voiced her unhappiness on her Facebook page after the SAA informed her that she would not take part in the Busan International Pole Vault Meet.

Yang thought that she had qualified, as the SAA had previously said that it would send the season's top male and female vaulters to South Korea regardless of the height they recorded.

But the SAA later told her that she had missed the starting height of 3.60m set by organisers in South Korea - well clear of the season-best of 3.40m which Yang posted last month.

However, after an appeal by the SAA to the organisers, Yang was allowed to take part, but the association insisted that Yang must apologise for what they deemed as defamatory comments about its newly-appointed sports development and performance chief, Asmah Hanim.

In its final warning sent out last Thursday, the SAA wanted her to draft an apology and publish it on her Facebook page within 24 hours.

Ironically, Yang was in the Philippines, on a stopover to Busan for the said meet, when the e-mail was sent.

She claimed that she didn't see it until Friday night, by which time the deadline had lapsed.

She believes that the threat of legal action, on the day before she competed, unsettled her so much that she failed to clear 3.60m on Saturday.

Singapore's male representative, Sean Lim, also failed in his effort of 5.05m.

Yang said: "This is the first time both Sean and me are competing in the Busan meet and we were really hoping to do well.

"We were well prepared and even thought we could set national records.

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