High jumper is marks comeback with new national record

High jumper is marks comeback with new national record

It is almost nine years since the women's high jump national record was last set.

The previous mark of 1.80 metres was established by Michelle Sng, then 19, in 2006.

She suffered a stress fracture in her shin in 2007 and subsequently quit the sport in 2010 when she felt she could not reach the high level that was expected of her.

But, with Singapore hosting the 28th South-east (SEA) Games from June 5-16, Sng, now 27, decided to give it one more shot and returned to the sport in 2013.

She took another big step in her comeback bid yesterday when she cleared 1.84m at the Philippines Open at the San Luis Sports Complex in Laguna to rewrite her own national record.

Not only did Sng stake her claim for a SEA Games spot, she also equalled the 2013 SEA Games gold-medal winning mark of 1.84m set by Vietnam's Duong Thi Viet Anh.

"I wanted to set a new record again, but I was surprised it happened today because I wasn't feeling well and I had to catch the 4am bus (to the competition venue) because I didn't want to risk being late," the primary school English teacher, whose latest record is subject to official ratification by Singapore Athletics, told The New Paper in a phone interview from Laguna yesterday.

"I'm also really happy because it took me quite a while to get back to the top again.

REWROTE

"I rewrote the national record twice in 2006, and that was such a long time ago.

"I was injured with a stress fracture in my shin in 2007, and I never really got back.

"I then quit the sport in 2010 because I thought I was done with track and field and I wanted to move on."

Sng's decision to quit the sport surprised many because she was touted as the next big thing in local athletics after she broke Yu Long Nyu's 13-year-old record of 1.74m with an effort of 1.79m at an international junior meet in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2006.

She then improved on her record by one centimetre at the Asian Junior Championships in Macau later that year.

After quitting the sport in 2010, she was convinced by her coach Chan See Huey in 2013 to give it a shot for the home Games this June.

With another national record under her belt, the 1.72m-tall Sng has now set sights on becoming Singapore's first female high jump medallist at the SEA Games.

If she gets the nod from Singapore National Olympic Council, she will also be the Republic's first female high jumper at the biennial Games since 1993.

TRAINING HARD

Even though her event was over on Day One at the Philippines Open and the team will be back only on Monday, Sng will be training hard in Laguna as the Games is less than three months away.

She said: "I have always done better in competitions than in training.

"I want to improve on my national record and do Singapore proud at the SEA Games in June."


This article was first published on March 20, 2015.
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