SEA Games-bound marathoner Jasmine Goh's quest to become Singapore's first female medallist at the biennial Games in two decades has been boosted by a $31,170 donation from members of her running club F1 Runners.
The funds from Mizuno F1 Runners and Mizuno CBD Runners will cover her training costs and loss of income. Goh, 37, is a financial consultant and has increased her training load since January.
She said: "I am extremely humbled by the generosity of my fellow club members. Their unconditional support allowed me to train without worries."
She has a chance of a podium finish - the last local female to achieve this was Toh Soh Liang who finished third at the 1997 Jakarta edition - at the Kuala Lumpur Games. She had clocked 2hr 54min 51sec at February's Hong Kong Marathon to win the Master 1 (35-44 years old) category under cool conditions ideal for running.
Compatriot Rachel See, who will also compete in Malaysia, posted 2:58:27 in Hong Kong. Singapore's national record is 2:34:41 set by Yvonne Danson at the 1995 Chiang Mai Games.
Goh's time was much faster than her previous best (3:03:40) and under Thailand's Natthaya Thanaronnawat 2015 Games-winning time of 3:03:25, albeit set in warmer and humid Singapore.
While it was a welcome confidence boost and "a great testimony that (her) coach's training plan worked", she is aware that she will face a strong field of competitors at the Aug 19-30 Games.
TOUCHED BY SUPPORT
I am extremely humbled by the generosity of my fellow club members. Their unconditional support allowed me to train without worries.
JASMINE GOH, whose personal best is 2:54:51 set in Hong Kong in February and has been training full time since March.
In her bid for gold, Filipino Olympian and 2015 SEA Games silver medallist Mary Joy Tabal, 27, will embark on three weeks of high-altitude training in St Moritz, Switzerland.
Thai Jane Vongvorachoti, 33, was South-east Asia's top finisher at last year's Rio Olympics, clocking 2:47:32 to finish 91st in Brazil in August.
Goh posted a personal best of 1:24:10 in the 21km category at last Sunday's Gold Coast Marathon but refrained from talking about medal targets. She said: "My focus is to do my best on that day.
"I believe that sometimes it is not the best athlete who wins, but the one who is best prepared - I want to be the best prepared."
Her coach is Lexxus Tan, who is the head coach of F1 Runners and led the fund-raising efforts.
He believes his student's SEA Games preparations are on track.
Asked about Goh's chances of winning gold, however, he said: "A marathon is very unpredictable and anyone can be a gold medal contender.
"So long as she runs according to plan and does her best, she is already a winner in my heart."