Goh gains confidence in Games 5K bid

Goh Chui Ling running the 1,500m in last month's SA performance trial. Yesterday, her time in the 5,000m was just over three seconds outside the SEA Games qualifying standard, despite still being in "pre-competition phase".
Goh Chui Ling running the 1,500m in last month's SA performance trial. Yesterday, her time in the 5,000m was just over three seconds outside the SEA Games qualifying standard, despite still being in "pre-competition phase".PHOTO: FUAD IDRIS

In a race that was not her pet event and in wet conditions, Goh Chui Ling garnered something more valuable than a medal for an athlete - confidence.

By finishing fourth in yesterday's mixed open 5,000m in 17min 55.47sec - behind male runners Chai Jia Cheng (16:45.46), Shaun Goh (16:52.97) and Raymond Sng (17:54.63) - at the Singapore Athletics (SA) Performance Trial 1, Goh proved to herself she was a step closer to qualifying for this year's SEA Games.

This was her first attempt at the 5,000m - her pet events are the 800m and 1,500m - and her time was narrowly outside the qualifying mark for the biennial Games in Vietnam.

That benchmark is the bronze medal time at the last Games, which was Filipina Joida Gagnao's 17:52.16 effort.

For the 29-year-old, there were plenty of positives at the Home of Athletics in Kallang.

She said: "I feel very excited to be competing again. I feel like I am in good shape and to come close to hitting the qualifying time was encouraging."

She has competed at four SEA Games - she came closest to clinching a medal at the 2015 edition on home soil but she and teammates Shanti Pereira, Dipna Lim-Prasad and T. Piriyah ended fourth in the women's 4x400m relay despite rewriting a 41-year-old national record - and is hoping to break her duck at the Nov 21-Dec 2 competition in Hanoi.

Goh did not enter the weekend's 800m or 1,500m as she was still in her "pre-competition phase" but felt a run-out at the longer distance would be helpful to test her stamina and endurance.

She had clocked 2:16.52 and 4:39.10 respectively in those events at the last SA performance trial.

While her coach is currently based overseas, this was not a big hurdle, said Goh.

"I have many seniors and training mates who help me through my workouts, as well as to train and compete with," she said.

Several events, including the women's pole vault, were cancelled owing to yesterday's heavy rain. The two-day meet concludes today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 24, 2021, with the headline 'Goh gains confidence in Games 5K bid'. Subscribe