Story by Noor Farhan/Red Sports. Photos by Lai Jun Wei and Vanessa Lim/Red Sports

Singapore Biathlon

Defending Men’s Open champion Mok Ying Ren finishes his race in 56:54 but had to settle for second this year behind Dylan McNeice (54:20). He was the first male runner to cross the finish line but the timing of Dylan McNeice in a later wave proved faster. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

East Coast Park, Saturday, February 12, 2011 — Defending champion Mok Ying Ren had to settle for second place in the Men’s Open of the 11th Singapore Biathlon. Ying Ren clocked 56 minutes and 54 seconds (swim — 22:51; run — 34:03), 2 minutes and 34 seconds behind New Zealander Dylan McNeice who clocked 54:20 (swim — 18:31; run — 35:49). McNeice, a professional triathlete, competed in a separate wave from Ying Ren and it was not clear who won until the results were posted.

Said the champion, who hails from Christchurch: “I was a little disappointed that I was in a different wave (from the front-runners), but I knew that Mok was doing a lot of running and wasn’t swimming as fast so I knew that if I swam good then I’d be able to hold out in the run.”

“I’ve been running a lot this year but have not swum for a month. I came out of my (pool) training with a timing of 25 minutes (for 1.5km), which was actually not that good,” reflected Ying Ren. “But in the race itself, my swim was quite fast as I finished after about 21 minutes, so I managed to catch up with the leader at about 2 kilometres (into the run).”

Last year’s third place finisher Ben Pulham again finished in the same position, completing his race in 1:00:18 (swim — 22:11; run — 38:08).

In the Women’s Open, Singapore’s Sumiko Tan came within a fraction of overhauling eventual winner and defending champion Trudy Fawcett.

The 26-year-old teacher-trainee from the National Institute of Education (NIE) clocked 1:08:48 (swim — 26:16; run —  42:32), just 16 seconds behind Fawcett’s 1:08:32 (swim — 27:13; run — 41:20).

“I’m really amazed actually. I had a much better swim than expected even though I was 3 minutes slower than last year, but (the win) was all down to all the effort I had put in for the event,” commented Trudy on her strong finish.

“The sea was calm, and I think the swim was very good even though I got a bit lost because I was following the wrong feet!” joked Trudy.

Clara Wong, who represented Singapore as a triathlete at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, was first out of the sea in the swim leg in 21:19, ahead of Sumiko (26:16) and Trudy (27:13). However, she was caught on the run and eventually finished third in 1:09:26 (swim — 21:19; run — 48:08). This was her first Singapore Biathlon.

“Before the race I knew Trudy and Sumiko were going to be a tough one on the run segment so I planned to get an advantage in the swim,” said Clara. “Even though I had a nice gap in the first run loop (around 1:15 mins), Trudy managed to catch me in the last 2km, and Sumiko manged to catch up in the last km. They are very good at the finishing sprint so I couldn’t catch up. I guess I underestimated them!”

The 2011 Singapore Biathlon saw a record 2,428 biathletes taking part. 2,310 athletes took part in 2010.

Said Colonel (COL) Tan Tai Tiong, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the 2011 edition: “The Singapore Biathlon has certainly grown and evolved throughout the years to become an established event in the local sports scene.”

“We hope the event can continue to attract more young participants as they use the Singapore Biathlon as a platform to become more conditioned as they challenge themselves to take on a full triathlon in the future.”

Jointly organised by SAFRA and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), the annual event also attracted a total of 108 participants aged 15 to 20 years old, marking an over 45 percent increase in the number of youth participants this year.

While 47 of these participants competed in the Open category over a 1.5km swim and 10km run, the remaining 61 participants competed in the Youth category with the newly introduced sprint distance comprising a 750m swim and 5km run.

Go to next page for more photos and to download full results