Athletics: Yeo happy to be back, Asmah buckles near the end

Singapore's Gary Yeo (left) competes in the men's 100m heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

SINGAPORE - Singapore's fastest man is back on track.

On Sunday evening, national 100m record holder Gary Yeo took part in his first competitive race since he was sidelined by a hamstring injury at last month's Asian Athletics Championships in India.

The 26-year-old took it easy in the 200m race at the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) Track and Field Series Five meet at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.

Slowing down considerably in the second half of the race, Yeo clocked 23.5 seconds, coming in last among six runners.

But he was all smiles after the race.

"I wasn't treating it as a competitive run," he said. "It was more of a fitness run for me, because I haven't managed to reach the intensity in training that I had before the injury.

"There was still a niggling fear (of injury) and a bit of soreness, but I came through all right. Everything went as planned."

Yeo, who ran at last year's Olympics in London, chose to compete only in the 200m and not Saturday's 100m dash, because the longer sprint allowed him to "adjust easier" midway through his run.

The 2011 South-east Asia (SEA) Games 100m silver medallist said there was plenty of time for him to get back into peak condition before December's Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.

He said: "What I wanted to attain today was my rhythm, race pace and basically just go through my motions.

"Since I haven't raced much this year, I just wanted to build up my race mentality, keep myself sharp. There's no race against time and my training is going smoothly."

Anguish

While Yeo was happy enough with his outing, there was anguish for Asmah Hanim in the women's 400m.

The 29-year-old, who last ran with the national team in 2005, decided to make a comeback in a bid to be part of the 4 x 400m women's relay team for the SEA Games by training more seriously from the start of the year.

The relay squad already has four members - Dipna Lim-Prasad, Shanti Pereira, T Piriyah and Wendy Enn - and the top two from yesterday's 400m dash were to be included in the squad.

It looked like she was home and dry as the second- placed runner, until the unthinkable happened - her legs buckled just metres before the finish line.

Any hopes of bettering her personal best of 59.2 went up in smoke, as she crashed onto the track. She eventually picked herself up and trudged across the line, finishing seventh out of eight runners with a time of 1:11.54.

The two relay squad places are now likely to go to Goh Chui Ling and Summer Ree.

Asmah put on a brave face later.

"It was just unfortunate," she said, smiling despite the fresh scars on her right shoulder and knee.

"I ran a good run, and I think that's all that matters. It was just that final step."

 

msazali@sph.com.sg


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