Atheletes must improve, says Chan

Atheletes must improve, says Chan
Singapore's James Wong throwing a discus.

NAYPYIDAW- Should Singapore be doing much better in athletics events at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games?

That was the question raised by Singapore National Olympic Council general secretary Chris Chan, at a post-mortem of the Games at the Thingaha Hotel yesterday.

Chan spoke after Singapore chef de mission Annabel Pennefather gave an overall positive review of the Republic's 34-gold haul, which left them in sixth place on the medal table.

Said Chan: "Just a point about our placing. We know the two compulsory sports - aquatics and track and field - and to a certain extent, shooting, are three sports where there are a lot of medals.

"And we have to ask ourselves: In track and field, are we fielding all our athletes in the 43 or so events? All of them in contention to win medals?

"If not, then we will always be in that position - fourth, fifth, sixth.

"The other bigger, more established nations who have a good foundation in track and field - the Thais, the Indonesians - will always be there taking part and in contention for every event.

"If we're not filling up all these events, we'll always be around there (in the overall medal standings)."

When The New Paper later asked Chan to elaborate, he made the point about half of Singapore's eight track and field medals in Myanmar being won by veteran China-born throwers Zhang Guirong and Du Xianhui.

He added he was happy to see new faces like runners Dipna Lim-Prasad and Shanti Pereira, who set new national records in the women's 400m hurdles and 200m sprint events respectively over the past week, emerge at the Games.

But it was clear he felt more could be done.

Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) chief Tang Weng Fei, who assumed leadership of the track and field body in June 2010, reacted angrily to Chan's comments.

"With due respect to Chris, I don't think he understands a lot about track and field," said Tang, a former national hurdler.

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