Athletics: Melvin to stay on till March

National sprint coach Melvin Tan (right) with members of the national 4x100m relay team comprising (from left) Muhammad Amiruddin Jamal, Calvin Kang, Gary Yeo, Muhammad Elfi Mustapa and Lee Cheng Wei.

He was tired and wanted to pass on the baton after last month’s South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar.

But men’s national 4x100m relay coach Melvin Tan will continue in his role until a replacement is found.

The baton exchange is likely to take place after March, according to Singapore Athletic Association president Tang Weng Fei.

He said: “We are in the midst of looking for a new national head coach and a new head of high performance, both of whom we will appoint in the second quarter this year.

“Thereafter, the two will discuss the appointment of the relay coach.

“Melvin has previously indicated that he wants to step down, but he has agreed to stay on as interim coach.”

While Tan’s successor is likely to have only a few months to get the team ready for September’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, Tang is confident that the transition would go smoothly.

Tang also didn’t rule out the possibility that Tan may lead the team to the Asiad.

“Yes, I’ve agreed to stay on at the moment because there’s no one (to take over from me),” said the 46-year-old Tan, who is Raffles Institution’s track and field coach.

“At the moment, there are no competitions as the sprinters just returned to training and will probably be doing conditioning work till April.”

The 4x100m team trained full-time last year in their bid to qualify for the World Championships in Moscow, and to win the gold at the SEA Games.

SECOND

They didn’t meet the qualifying mark for the worlds, and finished second to Thailand at the Myanmar SEA Games.

However, the quartet of Gary Yeo, Amirudin Jamal, Lee Cheng Wei and Elfi Mustapa set a new national record of 39.45 seconds last May, and they also qualified for the Asian Games with their SEA Games timing of 39.79.

Amirudin and Elfi — both university graduates — will continue training full-time for the Asiad while Yeo, Lee and (substitute) Calvin Kang have resumed their undergraduate studies, but will still train for the quadrennial Games, where they have set a target of a top-six finish.


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