Sports

Studies come first for Lynette

Lynette’s mark of 11.89m at the track and field championships yesterday bettered her previous benchmark of 11.79m, which she set last year. Photo: SAA
Teenager Lynette Lim set a new national women's triple jump record of 11.89m at the 2014 Singapore National Schools Track and Field Championships on Thursday. Photo: Singapore Athletic Association
Despite rewriting national triple jump record, athletics is not teenager’s priority
Published: 4:13 AM, April 11, 2014

SINGAPORE — For the second straight year, the national women’s triple jump record tumbled at the feet of Lynette Lim, but the achievement was especially sweet for the athlete as it was written at the Singapore National Schools Track and Field Championships yesterday.

In setting the new national standard of 11.89m at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, the Victoria Junior College student re-wrote the record she set last year at the same meet by another 10cm.

Only 16, Lynette’s development as an athlete at this stage seems to hold plenty of promise, but it is a career that could very well end after her A-Levels next year.

It is a prospect her coach John Seem is not looking forward to, as he believes the triple jumper is on track to breach the 12m mark in competition before the end of the year.

Lynette, he added, is focused on furthering her studies and has not given much thought to training full-time or building a career as a sportswoman. She, at least, has the backing of Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) President Tang Weng Fei, who cautioned against pushing young athletes against their will.

“There is too much talk about getting our young athletes to train full time and I am a little uncomfortable with this,” said Tang.

“I met Lynette’s parents on Sunday and they also want her to concentrate on her studies, but I also think she should be given room to enjoy herself first. There is still ample time if she changes her mind later.”

While Tang said Lynette is making good progress that could eventually lead to an elite athlete’s pathway programme, there is still a lot of work to be done before she could be on the same level as sprinter Shanti Pereira, the 17-year-old who finished fourth in the 200m at last December’s SEA Games in Myanmar and is widely regarded as a medal prospect for next year’s edition in Singapore.

But the new women’s triple jump national mark is still the third-lowest in the region, where the 14.17m record set at Naypyidaw is held by Indonesia’s Maria Natalia Londa. It also below the 12.29m bronze medal placing at last year’s SEA Youth Athletics championship in Vietnam, a target Tang said Lynette should aim for.

With the progress the teenager is making, Seem is confident it can be reached next year, although the focus now is to qualify for the August Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.

Said Seem: “Lynette is already doing 12m during training and I think the long jump competition two days ago may have tired her. If she continues making progress, I am sure she’ll do 13m within two years, that is if she is still training. We are now preparing for the Asian Area Qualifying for the Youth Olympics in Bangkok on May 21 and 22. The qualifying mark is 11.7m and only the top two in Asia will get to go.”