Former Singapore sprinter tips Team Singapore to raise the bar at SEA Games

Former Singapore sprinter tips Team Singapore to raise the bar at SEA Games
WEAR RED: Former Singapore sprinter UK Shyam (standing, first from near right), other ex-athletes and models at Giordano’s apparel launch yesterday in support of the SEA Games.

This year alone, 10 national track and field records have bitten the dust.

Former sprinter UK Shyam, who holds the national 100 metres record of 10.37 seconds set in 2001, is tipping Team Singapore's track and field contingent to raise the bar at next month's South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

"I think a lot of our athletes are going to do personal bests and more national records will tumble. A lot have already fallen this year and the new National Stadium has a really fast track so that will be really conducive for the sprints," said the 38-year-old on the sidelines of the Team Singapore x Giordano collection launch at their flagship store in Suntec City yesterday.

"But, to win medals, it depends on the competitors. The Indonesians and the Thais are really fast, so it's going to be a tough fight.

"But then you really never know as the SEA Games is held on home ground, so they might rise to the occasion.

"Imagine hearing Majulah Singapura in the background just before your event, that'll be amazing."

Singapore will field a relatively young track and field team for the Games (22 of the 74 athletes are teenagers), and Shyam has some advice for them.

He said: "Pressure is tricky, but you have to be very inward looking.

"Shut out what others tell you and just be conscious of your movements and all the technical details. Sometimes, you'll produce something amazing."


Shyam was among a group of former Team Singapore athletes who helped launch Giordano's limited edition I AM RED merchandise in support of Team Singapore at the SEA Games.

Joining wushu exponent Tao Yi Jun, gymnast Lim Heem Wei, water-polo player Lim Yao Xiang and para-swimmer Theresa Goh, the five modelled the apparel down a red carpet in the store.

The collection included a range of Team Singapore merchandise like shirts, umbrellas and scarves. The apparel range is available from $19. Accessories are priced from $13 upwards.

From Monday, fans and supporters will be able to purchase T-shirts and other apparel items in national colours from 22 Giordano outlets islandwide.

Giordano will be donating two per cent of all proceeds to the SportCares Foundation, which seeks to use sport for social good.

Like Shyam, other former Team Singapore athletes at the event also had words of encouragement for their fellow countrymen.

Singapore's first gymnastics Olympian, Heem Wei, 26, said: "Even though the (gymnastics) team are quite inexperienced, it's all mind over matter."

Tao, a wushu world champion in 2011 and a former SEA Games gold medallist, agreed.

She said: "The best advice that was given to me was, 'Don't treat it as a competition, treat it as a training session, it's just a different venue'."

Swimmer Goh, shared her personal method to managing pressure.

"When I'm doing a fast set during training, I imagine a lot of people watching. When I do it often enough, it becomes second nature, and I feel comfortable."

Former water polo national player Yao Xiang, 32, added that the most important thing is to have fun.

"When you're competing, nerves will be there. But, from the hotel to the game and after that, you should just enjoy it. You've trained so hard, so you'll know what to do when the moment comes," he said.

This article was first published on May 23, 2015.
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