Cheyenne misses out on semis but makes Singapore history

Short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh competing in her heat yesterday. She finished fifth among six skaters.
Short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh competing in her heat yesterday. She finished fifth among six skaters.PHOTO: REUTERS

Having made history after becoming Singapore's first athlete at the Winter Olympic Games, short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh wants more.

The 18-year-old, who finished fifth among sixth competitors in her heat yesterday and did not qualify for the semi-finals of the 1,500m event, told The Sunday Times: "It's definitely motivated me to work harder over the next four years, so hopefully I'll be able to qualify again, be a little more competitive and vie for a better position."

Goh clocked 2min 36.971sec after 13.5 laps in Heat 3 at the Gangneung Ice Arena in South Korea. The top three skaters in each of the six heats advance to the next round.

Dutchwoman and 2016 world junior 1,500m champion Suzanne Schulting was first (2:27.730) in Goh's race, followed by Australian Deanna Lockett (2:28.996) and Great Britain's Charlotte Gilmartin (2:29.005). The latter two are medallists at International Skating Union World Cup senior events.

Goh, who finished 28th overall out of 31 skaters, said: "Before the race I was quite nervous and trying to stay calm, and I think I did okay.

"I was kind of relieved that (the race) was over, but I think I was generally all right with it - I wasn't ecstatic or anything but I was pretty content with how the race went."

Besides her parents and two brothers, Goh was cheered on by a group of about 15 supporters, which included International Olympic Committee executive board member Ng Ser Miang and Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin.

When asked about the impact on her fellow Singaporeans, Goh said: "Being able to qualify definitely gave winter sports a lot more exposure in Singapore and that's really important because it's not really a really big thing in Singapore yet.

"I guess it's kind of like carving a path and hopefully more people will gain interest and maybe think of trying it up. After all, (sports) like short track speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey are done indoors and there are rinks everywhere, even in warmer places."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 18, 2018, with the headline 'Cheyenne misses out on semis but makes S'pore history'. Print Edition | Subscribe