Asean Para Games: No medals for Singapore racers Tan and Lai but duo happy with PBs

Dr William Tan finished seventh out of eight competitors in the wheelchair race during the 8th Asean Para Games at the National Stadium.
Dr William Tan finished seventh out of eight competitors in the wheelchair race during the 8th Asean Para Games at the National Stadium. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER
Minister for Social and Family Development and also the president of the Singapore National Olympic Council Tan Chuan-Jin (second from right) speaking to Jack Lai (right) during his visits at the Kallang Practice track.
Minister for Social and Family Development and also the president of the Singapore National Olympic Council Tan Chuan-Jin (second from right) speaking to Jack Lai (right) during his visits at the Kallang Practice track. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Even though they did not win a medal, Singapore's wheelchair racers William Tan and Jack Lai clocked personal best timings in the athletics competition at the Asean Para Games (APG) on Wednesday.

Tan finished fifth in the T53 400m final with a time of 65.21sec, while Lai was disqualified in the same race, believed to be due to a false start. The race was won by Thailand's triple gold medallist Paeyo Pongsakorn (49.82sec)

But Lai was pleased that he shaved more than 40 seconds off his previous best of 2min 42sec in the T52/53 800m race last Friday, clocking 2:06.75, while the 58-year-old clocked 64.74sec in the T53 400m heats on Monday, beating his previous best of 1min 12sec.

Lai said: "This APG experience has been fantastic. I've managed to set new personal best timings and I'm satisfied with my overall performance."

Tan was also happy that he cut 16 seconds off his personal best in the 400m heats, but revealed that he was struggling with an ankle injury. He said: "I took some painkillers this morning but it did not help. But it has been an awesome experience, it's a privilege to get so much support from all Singaporeans.

"It has been a good APG not just about meeting PBs but to be able to compete. Having been away from racing for so long due to leukaemia, I'm glad to see our neighbouring countries such as Cambodia who have improved a lot."

"I see that we have to work harder now, especially for our younger athletes," added the 58-year-old with a smile.

Thailand retained their title as overall track and field champions after the six-day competition, topping the tally with 30 gold, 32 silver and 22 bronze medals. Indonesia (27-24-16) and Malaysia (27-18-8) finished second and third respectively.

chiazya@sph.com.sg