Shin injury forces Mok to pull out of marathon

Shin injury forces Mok to pull out of marathon
Mok Ying Ren pictured in happier times as he wins the marathon at the 27th SEA Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar last December.

SINGAPORE - He had been relishing the challenge of competing alongside some of the world's best.

The rare honour of becoming Singapore's first male marathoner at the Commonwealth Games had also been a driving force throughout his training runs.

However, SEA Games gold medallist Mok Ying Ren will not feature in Glasgow after succumbing to a shin injury that has prevented him from training for weeks.

While the pain subsided after he switched his training from the roads to the gym over the past two weeks, the sharp sensation returned in Scotland when Mok resumed his road runs, forcing him to withdraw.

"It's a sharp pain on the bone, that's why it's a bit worrying," he told The Sunday Times.

The 26-year-old had contemplated withdrawing as early as Friday, but decided to give it another go yesterday morning before arriving at his decision.

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan before departure had showed the injury to be a stress reaction, but Mok - a trained doctor himself - said there was a danger it could worsen into a stress fracture, especially when one's legs are subjected to more than 30,000 pounding steps over the 42.195km distance.

With the defence of his SEA Games title next June and hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics on the line, Mok said he was advised by doctors and officials not to risk long-term damage.

The disappointed runner admitted that he felt he was letting people down by not competing.

He said: "This was a very tough decision. It's probably harder to withdraw than to push through the pain and carry on."

He estimates that it will take about one to two months to recover from the injury.

"It's important to be patient now. This injury probably happened because I was overzealous in training. Sometimes, as athletes, we can push ourselves too hard," said Mok, who has a marathon personal best of 2hr 26min 30sec.

He is due to leave Glasgow on Tuesday to return to Singapore to continue serving his National Service.

"It's good to travel home too, rather than be here and watch other athletes compete while I'm unable to," he said.

This article was first published on July 27, 2014.
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