Ang Chen Xiang battles cramp to set 2nd hurdles record in a day

A hamstring cramp midway through the men's 110m hurdles final yesterday did not deter Ang Chen Xiang from breaking the national record a second time on the same day.

The National University of Singapore medical student finished sixth in 14.26 seconds at the Singapore Open Track and Field Championships, lowering the national record by 0.01sec after clocking 14.27sec in the heats.

The 24-year-old revealed that cramps had started to set in even before the race, but he told himself to "just keep moving" when both his legs cramped mid-race.

"I did what I could to get to the finish line and, when I saw the time, I was super happy," said Ang, who raised both arms upon seeing his time on the scoreboard at the National Stadium.

On lowering the national record twice yesterday, he added: "Both are significant to me - the first one because my technical execution was good in the latter part of the race, the second I'm equally happy because it's a new record.

"You have to control the chaos that happens in the race, (when) things don't go your way, you just have to get your job done."

His previous record of 14.36sec was clocked at the same event last year, and he said after the heats yesterday that he was glad to have executed his sprinting technique in between hurdles well during a competitive meet. "The aim is to consistently perform the technique, and that should translate to faster times," he added.

Ang will next compete at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha next month, after which he will focus on preparing for the SEA Games in the Philippines at the end of the year.

He was not the only Singaporean to break a national record yesterday. Tia Louise Rozario set a national mark of 12.16m in the women's triple jump, bettering Wendy Enn's 2017 distance of 12.05m. Both records are pending ratification by Singapore Athletics.

Also pleased with her performance yesterday was 2015 SEA Games champion Shanti Pereira, who posted 23.85sec to place second in the women's 200m.

The 22-year-old had been aiming for a sub-24 second timing before the Singapore Open and felt that yesterday's race bodes well for the rest of her season.

"My head was clear, then I just whacked, there's really no explanation for it," said Pereira, the 2017 SEA Games bronze medallist.

"My start was pretty good... my coach (Margaret Oh) said I need to work more on the transition part, on getting used to that movement from the curve to the straight.

"It's a really good start for me, it means my preparation was good and it's a good base to see what else I can improve on and how I can improve in terms of timing."

Nicole Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2019, with the headline 'Ang battles cramp to set 2nd hurdles record in a day'. Print Edition | Subscribe