ActiveSG club to boost athletics

Zikry Zainudin's season in Changkat Changi Secondary colours ended yesterday, when his team finished eighth in the 4x400m B boys' relay at the Schools National Track and Field Championships.

But the Secondary Four runner, who will graduate at the end of the year, can continue to receive quality coaching in the sport that he loves.

Zikry, 16, his school's fastest cross-country runner, is set to benefit from a new initiative, the ActiveSG Athletics Club.

He will be trained by the club's head coaches, Melvin Tan and Steven Quek - two of the top local athletics coaches.

The club was launched yesterday by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the National Stadium.

She said: "(We aim) to build up a pipeline of sportsmen who are keen in athletics.

"We hope to provide a scaffolding so they can start young, before moving on to higher level and perhaps specialisation."

The Athletics Club will conduct 10-week programmes for participants between the ages of six and 24. Starting May 30, training will be held thrice weekly at five venues - Bedok Stadium, Bishan Sports Centre, Bukit Gombak Sports Centre, Kallang practice track and Woodlands Sports Centre.

Zikry said: "I've never been coached by a coach from a top school. We're the underdogs because we're from a so-called neighbourhood school. We've never got to taste a national medal. But you know that you can rely on a national coach to shape you."

Tan and Quek, both 48, are established names in the local athletics coaching scene.

Quek is the coach of Olympic-bound women's marathoner Neo Jie Shi, and his proteges include SEA Games marathon champions Soh Rui Yong and Mok Ying Ren. Tan was a former national men's relay coach.

Tan will focus on the sprints component of the training sessions while Quek will oversee distance running.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2016, with the headline 'ActiveSG club to boost athletics'. Print Edition | Subscribe