Athletics: Wei Yu bounces back in style

 Athletics: Wei Yu bounces back in style
Raffles Institution student, long jumper, Toh Wei Yu.
PHOTO: The New Paper

He had a tough decision to make, and eventually decided to compete in the National Schools' B Division instead of the South-east Asia (SEA) Youth Athletics Championships in Kuala Lumpur.

The two events were only a few days apart, and Toh Wei Yu had unfinished business at the schools' meet in April.

And the 16-year-old Raffles Institution student (above) duly delivered, winning gold in the long jump with a leap of 6.61 metres, making up for his failure to even qualify for the final last year.

Wei Yu's tale has been all about going out to do better.

He won the C Division silver in the event two years ago, which he said was his proudest moment in six years of track and field competition.

"I came in second, but it was my first medal for RI," he told The New Paper recently. "Coming so close made me want to work harder to win."

The 1.75m tall long jumper also doesn't regret giving up the chance to compete in his first international competition, even though his personal best matched the bronze-medal distance of 6.68m achieved in KL.

He said: "The SEA youth championships was scheduled two or three days before the B Division long jump final. I didn't want to risk injury and fatigue.

"Besides, I knew doing well at the nationals could open more doors to overseas competitions for me." He was proven right.

Wei Yu's performance earned him a berth in last month's Asian School Games in Wuhan, where he finished eighth with a leap of 6.62m, and he will also compete at the ASEAN Schools Games in Brunei in November.

Juggling school work and thrice-a-week training sessions used to be a "major struggle", but Wei Yu has coped by better managing his time.

"I didn't do so well in Secondary 3, and my teacher told me to shorten my training sessions so that I could focus on my studies," he said.

"I didn't usually study on Tuesdays and Thursdays before, as those were short school days with no training.

"But now, I do some extra work on those days because I know I'll be too tired to concentrate if I try to study after training."

Apart from training during the off-season, Wei Yu has also been busy with community service at the Telok Blangah Family Centre.

His teacher-in-charge, Vincent Quek, praised the teenager, describing him as a role model.

"I've seen how Wei Yu has matured over the years, and as the leader of the jumps section, he takes very good care of the younger boys," said Quek, who has known him for four years.

"He is always willing to learn, and he's one of those individuals whose good attitude has translated into good results."

This article was first published on August 27, 2015.
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