Athletics: Rachel Yang ready to vault to SEA Games gold medal

Pole vaulter Rachel Yang only returned to competing a few weeks ago at the Singapore Open in April.
Pole vaulter Rachel Yang only returned to competing a few weeks ago at the Singapore Open in April.PHOTO: ST FILE

Pole vaulter Rachel Yang has qualified for August's SEA Games and is eyeing gold in Kuala Lumpur.

The 35-year-old national record holder (3.90m) and 2015 Games silver medallist cleared 3.60m - the Games qualification mark - at the #CelebrateAthletics Meet 1 held at Bishan Stadium yesterday.

The result marks a successful comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament she suffered in mid-air during one of her training sessions last July.

Yang went under the knife a month later and only returned to competing a few weeks ago at the Singapore Open in April.

Having recovered "90 per cent", she said: "It's a huge relief. I'm thankful that I cleared (the qualifying height) today. It's a big weight that's lifted from my back.

"When I was injured, I was worried I wouldn't be able to come back in time for the SEA Games.

"I was out for so long and many people were also wondering if I could still continue to compete."

Injuries are not new to Yang. She pulled out of the 2009 Games two days before her event after suffering a spinal disc herniation.

In August, on her third Games appearance, Yang is hoping to win Singapore's first gold medal in the event. She also took part in the 2011 Indonesia Games.

The Deloitte Singapore employee said she has tweaked her jumping technique and expects to break the 4m mark.

Yang said: "This time, my jumping technique is different. It's closer to the ideal model. Each time I return from a setback, I managed to come back stronger. I expect a major breakthrough."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 21, 2017, with the headline 'Yang ready to vault to SEA Games gold medal'. Print Edition | Subscribe