Cheyenne happy with Winter Games debut

Cheyenne Goh was fifth in her 1,500m short-track speed skating semi-final at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan and did not make the B final.
Cheyenne Goh was fifth in her 1,500m short-track speed skating semi-final at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan and did not make the B final.PHOTO: COURTESY OF SINGAPORE ICE SKATING ASSOCIATION

Local short-track speed skater Cheyenne Goh may have fallen short of the B final in her first event on her Asian Winter Games (AWG) debut yesterday, but the 17-year-old was pleased with her performance.

She featured in the second of three semi-finals in the women's 1,500m. She posted a time of 2min 53.343sec to finish last among five competitors, including eventual silver and bronze medallists Shim Suk Hee of South Korea and Guo Yihan of China respectively.

Cheyenne told The Straits Times that while she knew she had a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, she was unsure of how she ranked among her rivals, and had been hoping to "advance at least once" in Sapporo, Japan.

Having met that target, she said: "I'm quite happy (with my result) because the girls in the semis were stronger than me, and I think I did the best that I could have.

"But I definitely need to get stronger - there's a lot of work I have to do to catch up and reach that level, like working on my technique and endurance so I can keep up with them."

The Grade 12 student at Leduc Composite High School in Alberta, Canada said she was enjoying her first outing at a major meet, naming the chance to meet athletes across more sports as a highlight.

She said: "The atmosphere is quite different from the other tournaments that I've attended, like the World Cup and Junior World Cup.

"This makes me look forward to racing at the SEA Games, and hopefully doing well there."

This year's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur from Aug 19 to 31 will feature winter sports for the first time.

Singapore Ice Skating Association president Sonja Chong praised Cheyenne's debut performance as "a milestone and inspiration for the female short-track team".

She added: "She has already met our internal qualification for the 2017 SEA Games but as with all other sports, we still need to meet the Singapore National Olympic Council's (SNOC) qualifying mark, and for SNOC to approve (our nomination)."

Cheyenne, who last year became the first female Singaporean to qualify for next month's ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, will compete in the 500m today and the 1,000m tomorrow.

In the men's 1,500m competition yesterday, Singapore's Lucas Ng finished fourth in his heat in 2:47.061 and did not qualify for the semi-finals. He will also feature in both the 500m and 1,000m races today and tomorrow.

Nicole Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2017, with the headline 'Cheyenne happy with Winter Games debut'. Print Edition | Subscribe