Asean University Games 2016: Yap to focus on technique

Jonathan Nyepa (right) of Malaysia winning gold in the Asean University Games 100m in 10.62sec at Choa Chu Kang Stadium yesterday. Indonesia's Iswandi Iswandi (No. 20) won the bronze behind Vietnam's Le Trong Hinh.
Jonathan Nyepa (right) of Malaysia winning gold in the Asean University Games 100m in 10.62sec at Choa Chu Kang Stadium yesterday. Indonesia's Iswandi Iswandi (No. 20) won the bronze behind Vietnam's Le Trong Hinh.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

No 100m medal, but first victory over Kang to spur quest for 'excellence' at Rio Olympics

Rio-bound sprinter Timothee Yap may not have posted a new personal best in the 18th Asean University Games (AUG) 100m final yesterday, but the 21-year-old can take comfort from the fact that he beat fellow national sprinter and good friend Calvin Kang for the first time.

Yap's personal best time is 10.62sec, but he finished in fifth place at Choa Chu Kang Stadium yesterday with 10.88sec - two places ahead of Kang, who posted 10.91sec.

Malaysia's Jonathan Nyepa won the final yesterday, clocking 10.62sec to finish ahead of Vietnam's Le Trong Hinh (10.66sec) and Indonesia's Iswandi Iswandi (10.75sec).

Said NUS law undergraduate Yap: "(Calvin and I have) always been very close this season, so I feel quite happy about beating him today.

"We've raced head-to-head in 60m (races) in Singapore a few times but I've never beaten him. At the 60m mark (today) I was behind him, and I caught up in the last bit."

Although Yap, who was nominated for the wild card for the Rio Olympics by Singapore Athletics, admitted he was "not very happy" with his time yesterday, he insisted he is still on track to posting a new personal best in Brazil next month.

"I have about four weeks before the Olympics preliminaries and heats, so I'll probably do some loading and fix my technique," he said.

"Hopefully I'll be fit enough for the Games.

"Right now I still feel fresh, so I think a new personal best is a very high possibility."

Kang, who ran beside Yap during the heats and finals, had words of encouragement for his team-mate.

"It's good that Tim has been improving this year, and that he has beaten me," said Kang, 26.

"I think we've raced together six or seven times this year and it's our first time running on home soil, so I think it's good and (shows) that Tim is preparing well for Rio."

Kang, who clocked his personal best of 10.47sec at last year's SEA Games on home soil, represented Singapore at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

When asked if Kang, an NTU sports science and management student, had any advice for Yap as the latter prepares for his debut at the Games, Yap chimed in, saying: "He gives me advice every night."

And he will be taking at least one piece of advice from Kang with him to Rio.

Said Yap: "Like what Calvin told me, I'm going for excellence, and not just experience.

"Going forward to the Olympics, I'm not expected to win a gold medal, but hopefully the competitors around me will push me to do my best.

"If I achieve a new personal best, I'd feel that at least I went there and did something meaningful, instead of just going to Rio for the experience alone."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2016, with the headline 'Yap to focus on technique'. Print Edition | Subscribe