Pyeongchang torch relay refuels Ng's fire, passion

It lasted no more than three minutes and felt like "less than one". But the experience of being a Winter Olympics torch-bearer will stay with short track speed skater Lucas Ng for the rest of his life.

The 29-year-old Singapore was still in disbelief hours after completing his relay leg for the 2018 edition in Incheon, South Korea, yesterday thanks to a tie-up between Samsung and The Straits Times.

"It was an amazing experience," he said. "I must say a big thank you to Samsung and ST for making this happen. This is the first time I'm involved in an event of this scale.

"Seeing and hearing bystanders and members of the public cheering and screaming you on... it was overwhelming."

The torch will make its way to Seoul before arriving in Pyeongchang for the Feb 9-25 Games, while Ng, based in South Korea since October 2016, returns to Goyang to resume training.

He sheepishly admitted to not knowing exactly where he ran because of the rush of adrenaline. Along with torch-bearers from New Zealand, Malaysia and the Philippines, Ng was taken to his allocated spot on a bus.

And everything happened so quickly from there.

He said: "The guy before me arrived, we touched torches in what they call the 'torch kiss', and I took it on from there... It was an experience money can't buy.

Lucas Ng channelling his inner short track speed skater self during his leg of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics torch relay, in Incheon, South Korea - thanks to a tie-up between Samsung and The Straits Times. The 29-year-old Singaporean did not q
Lucas Ng channelling his inner short track speed skater self during his leg of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics torch relay, in Incheon, South Korea - thanks to a tie-up between Samsung and The Straits Times. The 29-year-old Singaporean did not qualify to race in the Feb 9-25 Games. PHOTO COURTESY OF SAMSUNG

"A lot of us grew up watching it on television. Never did I imagine I would be one of those people on the other side of the screen. It really is a privilege, something I can keep with me the rest of my life."

It was a boost following a disappointing Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last year. Days before the competition, he severed a tendon in his right hand in a training accident that required 10 stitches. He still managed silvers in the 1,000m and the 3,000m relay, but was frustrated to have missed out on gold.

Ng, Singapore's first Asian Winter Games representative in 2011, also failed to qualify for the Winter Olympics.

"The fire and passion I have for the sport, has always been there. If not, I would not have continued after so many downs," said Ng, who started skating competitively in 2010. "This (torch relay) is yet another experience in my sporting career, and it's definitely a boost to be part of such an event."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2018, with the headline 'Pyeongchang torch relay refuels Ng's fire, passion'. Print Edition | Subscribe