By Erwin Wong and Colin Tung
Avinash (#122, second from right) was initially nominated but was subsequently withdrawn. (Photo © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)
A controversy over who should represent Singapore in the 400m race at the Asian Youth Games was reported in the mainstream media earlier this week. (Storm over selection; Tuesday, June 2, The Straits Times)
The unhappy father of Ng Chin Hui had questioned the selection policy after his son beat the nominated athlete, Jared Lim, in the final of two major races.
Jared had clocked 51.11s in the semi-finals of the inter-school championships, but Chin Hui finished higher (2nd; 51.25s) than Jared (4th; 51.55s) in the final.
However, the selection of Jared was based purely on timing only as stated in the Singapore Athletics Association (SAA) website.
Last weekend, on May 30, Chin Hui once again triumphed over Jared in the 400m at the National Juniors Track-and-Field Championships, winning in a time of 51.58s – 0.47s slower than Jared’s age-group leading time – with Jared finishing third in 52.05s.
The decision by SAA to pick the athlete with the fastest timing without also considering other factors like big-race temperament ruffled the feathers of Chin Hui’s father, and hence his letter to the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.
However, the Straits Times report incorrectly pointed out that Jared Lim was nominated back in April when in fact it was 16-year-old Avinash R. of Seng Kang Secondary who was initially nominated.
In a May 4th article in the Straits Times, the athletics squad for the Asian Youth Games (AYG) was announced and Avinash was named as the 400m runner.
The official AYG website had also put the profile of Avinash up along with his other teammates, but he has since been removed.
Avinash held the fastest 400m time of 51.37s, in his age-group going into the inter-school championships and finished fifth behind Chin Hui and Jared in 51.64s.
But to add to the debate over whether Jared is the best option for the sole 400m spot, Avinash was the other person to beat Jared at the National Juniors over the weekend, when finishing runner-up to Chin Hui, in a time of 51.99s.
What’s the best criteria for selection? The best time, regardless of when it was clocked? Or the winner from one big selection race? Also, is it right to name a person as the nation’s representative and subsequently withdraw that honour away from him?
[…] confidence to cast his eye on the biggest sporting stage, the Olympics, after having been snubbed for a 400m spot at the Asian Youth Games in 2009. This has in part influenced his choice of university for undergraduate […]
AVI AVI IS THE BEST (:
I feel that it is downright unfair to select solely based on the best timing from ANY race. As all professional athletes know, there are several conditions which would affect the performance of runners (wind etc). You might argue that the factors are insignificant, but we’re not talking about minutes or seconds here. It’s MILLISECONDS.
Therefore, selection should be based on the finals where the best athletes race together under the same conditions.
To anti SAA:
FYI: Those qualifying marks are for World Youth. Besides these athletes got chosen because they are the best among their age group in Singapore. So what if the look bad, as least they can experience what its like to compete among the best.