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He has been in track and field since Primary 4, competing as a distance runner and triple jumper, but Chan Zhe Ying never tasted success at national schools level.
He joined Catholic Junior College last year, at a time when he was seriously considering hanging up his spikes for another sporting discipline.
The 18-year-old decided to give track and field one final shot and it paid off this year, when he won triple jump gold at the National Schools Track and Field Championships.
Speaking to The New Paper recently, Chan said: "I hadn't won anything since Primary 4, so there came a time when I felt so tired of failing. I kept thinking that I wasn't good at track and field.
"So when I entered CJ (Catholic Junior College), I considered switching to football because I always liked it.
"But I thought about how much time I'd spent as a runner and a triple jumper, and I felt that I never gave it my 100 per cent. So I promised myself to give it one last try in junior college."
He trained thrice a week for about three hours for each session and that increased to up to six times a week closer to this year's nationals.
He came through in the end, in dramatic circumstances.
He clinched gold in the boys' A Division triple jump when he leapt to a distance of 13.71m on his final attempt.
Joshua Hia of Hwa Chong Institution (13.59m) was second and Brent Tan of Raffles Institution clinched the bronze (13.46m).
Joshua was the favourite, having won the triple jump event twice before and he was also part of the Singapore contingent at the South-east Asian Youth Athletics Championships in 2012.
Before that medal-winning jump, Chan's personal best was 12.6m and he came in eighth in last year's schools nationals with a jump of 12.55m.
He said: "It felt unreal, like I was in a movie. I was so shocked because I really didn't expect to even get into the final. I competed in the 100m heats that same morning, so I was still recovering.
"When I checked with my marker to confirm the distance, I can't describe the feeling about how happy I was. All my training and sacrifice finally paid off."
The triple jumper credits his track and field teacher-in-charge, Wong Chee Wai, 36, for his success.
Wong paid tribute to his charge, when he said: "The passion is just inside him and I knew he had a strong character that could help him push through all the doubts that he had.
"I was so happy for him when he won. It was a big surprise for all of us watching him leapfrog everyone. He deserved that gold medal."
H-TWO-O Hydration Tips
Causes of Dehydration
-Inadequate fluid intake
-Exercising in dry, hot weather
-Failure to replace fluid losses during and after exercise
This article was first published on JULY 3, 2014.
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