Izlyn clears hurdle for YOG berth

SHE may have had to grapple with a sense of disappointment for more than a month but Singapore hurdler Nur Izlyn Zaini (pictured) is set to feature at next month's Youth Olympic Games (YOG) after all.

The 16-year-old is likely to be a late addition to the Republic's contingent in Nanjing, China, after being offered an unused quota place for athletics in Asia.

She posted a creditable third-place finish behind Japan and China in the 100m hurdles at the Asia qualifiers held in Thailand in May, but missed out as qualification was guaranteed only for the event's champion.

She also broke the national youth record (17 and under) with her time of 14.34sec clocked then, eclipsing the 14.47s effort by Jannah Wong, now the national record holder in the same event with 14.14s.

"I didn't want to get my hopes up high because I expected the runner from Japan to win," said Izlyn, a Secondary 4 student at the Singapore Sports School.

"I wasn't expecting to get to go so I was quite stunned when I found out. The YOG is one of the most prestigious events to be able to take part in so I feel very honoured and happy."

Izlyn will be Singapore's only representative in athletics at the Nanjing Games, and hopes to go below 14.3s for a new personal best.

Said Singapore chef de mission to the YOG Mark Chay: "The YOG is a unique Games in that the top youth from respective sports come together to compete, share and learn.

"Izlyn is a wonderful addition to the YOG team. Athletes have to meet international standards to participate at the YOG so it is encouraging to see someone from athletics come through."

Izlyn's selection is subject to endorsement by the Singapore National Olympic Council, and would mean 18 athletes from eight sports donning Singapore colours at the second edition of the YOG.

The inaugural edition of the event was held in Singapore four years ago.


This article was first published on July 18, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.