She was unable to break the national record at the Singapore Athletic Association's (SAA) Track and Field Series 4 meet yesterday at Choa Chu Kang Stadium but pole vaulter Rachel Yang is quietly confident of setting a new mark next week.
The 32-year-old failed to rewrite her current national record of 3.82m, set in July 2011, jumping 3.60m yesterday but it was enough to secure her ticket to the 2014 Busan Pole Vault Meeting, which will be held in South Korea next weekend.
While Yang attempted to jump 3.85m in a bid to enter the books, her two rival competitors did not, stopping after clearing 3.20m.
"For me, it's very tiring to jump here. I'm the only one who jumps above 3.60m so I have to go consecutively," explained Yang.
"I tried to quicken the whole process because I feel quite bad for making everyone else wait, so I didn't get enough rest (between my jumps)."
However, she believes that the higher level of competition overseas in Busan will push her beyond her current record.
"For me, if I want to jump higher, I need to compete in the right competitions," said Yang.
She was not alone in her attempts to break the national pole vault record yesterday.
Chan Sheng Yao, 18, whose 4.91m effort was a men's record then on March 2, tried to set a new mark of 5.05m yesterday but failed in all three attempts.
The current record is held by his training partner Sean Lim, 21, who raised the bar to 5.01m on March 14.
Sheng Yao has been aiming for the 5.05m mark since the start of the year, as it would allow him to qualify for the World Junior Championships in Oregon, the United States, in July.
The Hwa Chong Institution student is now focusing on the Asian Junior Athletics Championships, which will be held in Taiwan next month, hoping that the atmosphere and competition there will boost his performances.
"I want to go there and compete, try to make it into the finals in Taipei," he said.
Lim was slated to compete yesterday as well but dislocated his left shoulder during the warm-up jumps.
However, he shrugged it off by popping the shoulder back into its socket and was seen doing push-ups later.
Having first dislocated it four years ago, the injury last struck a week before last year's SEA Games in Myanmar.
Despite his recurring injury, Lim will be heading to Busan with Yang and their coach David Yeo.
This article was published on May 12 in The Straits Times.
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