Team Singapore's Jamal Muhammad Amirudin (C) in action during Men's 100m Round 1 - Heat 2 (Photo by Jaewon Lee / Sport Singapore)
He admitted to encountering several problems ahead of his Men's 100m Heats, but despite these distractions, national sprinter Muhammad Amirudin bin Jamal ran a Season Best timing of 10.61 at the Incheon Asiad Stadium on Saturday evening.
“It didn't go exactly as planned. I almost cramped up at the start,” Amirudin said. “The blocks are not quite what I'm used to - they feel a little different, so I just had to adjust. Having said that, I think I did fine today - it's still a Season Best timing.”
He added that the injuries he suffered from earlier in the year played a part in his performance, saying: “After I recovered from the injuries, I took quite a while to find my form before the Games. My target was to get through this round and make the semifinals. I'm just a little disappointed that I didn't hit 10.5 seconds.”
Amirudin finished 16th out of 26 sprinters in the heats and will race again in the semifinals on Sunday. His teammate, Calvin Kang, missed qualification by a whisker, clocking 10.67 - just 0.06 seconds behind Amirudin - and coming in 17th in the overall rankings.
Team Singapore's Kang Li Loong Calvin (C) reacts after Men's 100m Round 1 - Heat 4 (Photo by Jaewon Lee / Sport Singapore)
In women's action, Veronica Shanti Pereira – the first woman in Singapore athletics history to break the 12-second barrier in the 100m race – finished 11th overall in a field of 20 competitors with a time of 12.02 seconds and did not manage to qualify for the final.
According to Pereira, it was all down to her nerves. She said: “Before the race I was more nervous than usual because I know most of the competitors running - one of them was the Silver medallist at the Asian Junior Championships so I was like, 'woah'. I like to run with stronger competitors because it helps to push me, but today they intimidated me a little.
Nevertheless, Pereira was still somewhat satisfied with her performance, saying: “Overall, I think I did okay - I'm happy with it. I was just hoping to go below 12 seconds.”
The last Team Singapore athletes to compete on Saturday night were Goh Chui Ling and Piriyah T., who took part in the Women's 400m Heats. Goh, who is taking part in her first Asian Games, finished 19th out of 21 runners with a timing of 58.56 seconds. Piriyah clocked 58.73 seconds and came in 20th.
Team Singapore's Goh Chui Ling (L) reacts with South Korea's Oh Sera after Women's 400m Round 1 - Heat 1 (Photo by Jaewon Lee / Sport Singapore)
Though she did not qualify for the next round of the competition, a very jovial Goh greeted the Singapore press.
“I guess I was very nervous before the race. I didn't really know how cold it would be like at 8pm today because the temperatures kept changing the night before. But I'm thankful it's a little warmer today,” she said of the race conditions.
Ultimately, Goh said she was simply thankful for getting the exposure at such a high level and would treat this as an invaluable learning experience.
She said: “I'm glad I did my best because I knew my standard was far behind the rest of the competition. I'm definitely thankful that I finished this race, and I look forward to the relay to come.
This is a bigger deal as compared to the SEA Games - it's a great experience and I'm thankful just to be here.”