Less than two months after smashing a nine-year national record, swimmer Gan Ching Hwee did it again.
This time, she broke a decade-old record, achieving a personal best in the process at the Youth Olympic Games on Tuesday.
Ching Hwee broke the women's 800m under-17 record. Photo: Singapore National Olympic Council
Ching Hwee, 15, clocked 8 minutes 44.69 sec in the women’s 800m freestyle, shattering the national women’s Under-17 record, previously held by Lynette Lim. The time was good enough to put her in sixth place out of a field of 21 young swimmers.
“I’m quite pleased with my race today, and I’m actually surprised that I managed to hit a personal best and break the record, given the circumstances I had to deal with, like the time difference”, she said.
Widely touted as an emerging talent in the Singapore swim scene, Ching Hwee began swimming at the age of four at the Chinese Swimming Club.
The teenager marked her debut at the Asian Games in August and made an immediate impact. The youngest athlete of Team Singapore clocked a time of 16min 39.7sec in the women’s 1500m freestyle, beating a nine-year record that had was also held by Lynette Lim.
Ching Hwee specialises in long-distance events, and while some might feel that such swims are long, tedious events, she enjoys the unique challenges that they pose.
“It shows me what my body is actually capable of achieving,” she said.
Over at the table tennis arena, paddler Koen Pang missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the men’s singles event. Earlier in the day, he had defeated Iran’s Ahmadian Amin 4-0 in the round of 16.
But later that evening, he lost 4-1 to the number two seed Jha Kanak of the USA in the quarter-final.
“I felt I played quite well but the opponent definitely played better than me. I had more mistakes, while he didn’t really have any and he played to my weakness,” said the 16-year old, who is aiming to make it to the Olympics in two years.
“My expectations were to take it one step at a time and not rush things. Just being able to win a knockout round is really good at this level.”
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