Athletics: Pleasant memories with Sim's new mark

Edmund Sim believes he could have set a better time with improved logistical support, such as at water points.
Edmund Sim believes he could have set a better time with improved logistical support, such as at water points.

Race walker breaks his own 20km record set four years ago at same course in Nomi, Japan

Nomi seems to be a place of good omens for Edmund Sim, after he set a new national record in the Asian 20km Race Walking Championships for the second time in the Japanese city.

His time of 1hr 34min 49sec bettered the previous national record of 1:36:01 - which was also set by him at the same event in 2012.

"This place (Japan) always gives me a reason to smile and I'm always happy to be here," the 32-year-old told The Straits Times yesterday.

"It is not just because of (the records) in this competition, but also the camaraderie among the race-walking community. When I come here, I get to meet all my friends and talk about race walking.

"I came into this race just expecting to do my best and I felt really good during the race. There was no specific plan like whether I should go faster in the first half or the second half of the race. I just gave my best and put in the hard work."

However, he lamented the fact that he could have set a better time with improved logistical support.

"I wouldn't say that I'm surprised with the result. In fact, I'm actually quite disappointed as I thought I could have achieved a better time with better help," he said.

"I was handling my own water bottles at rest stops. I had to slow down each time to pick them up and I think it affected my time."

Despite the glitches, yesterday's result (10th of 101 walkers) bodes well for his preparations for May's International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Race Walking Cup in Rome. He will be competing in the 50km category.

"This (Asian 20km Race Walking Championships) is a build-up to the IAAF World Race Walking Cup and I will be hoping to set a good time there," he added.

"The Olympics are not part of my plan but if I manage to qualify, it will be a bonus."

While there was joy for Sim, team-mate Tin Shu Min, 20, will leave Japan a disappointed woman.

She timed 2:01:12 (last among 38) but it was well off her personal best of 1:58:26 that she set last year.

"It's a season-best time but I'm not too impressed. I have just started university so I'm still trying to settle down and haven't been training very well," said the Singapore Management University undergraduate.

"But with the summer break coming up, I will be able to go back to full-time training for four months. I think it's still possible to improve on my personal best but I will need to put in a lot of effort."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2016, with the headline 'Pleasant memories with Sim's new mark'. Print Edition | Subscribe