Athletics: Ang Chen Xiang overcomes cramps to break 110m hurdles national record twice at Singapore Open

Ang Chen Xiang clocked 14.27 seconds during the heats of the Singapore Open Track and Field Championships on March 28, 2019. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - A hamstring cramp midway through the men's 110m hurdles final on Thursday (March 28) did not hamper Ang Chen Xiang from breaking the national record a second time on the same day.

Ang, a 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 on Thursday, 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 on Thursday. Tia Louise Rozario set a national mark of 12.16m in the women's triple jump, bettering Wendy Enn's 2017 mark of 12.05m. Both records are pending ratification by Singapore Athletics.

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

Kristina Knott (right) and Veronica Shanti Pereira came in first and second respectively in the women's 200m. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

The 22-year-old had been aiming for a sub-24sec time before the Singapore Open and felt 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 a laughing 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."

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