SEA Games 2019

Goh picks herself up for gold

Skater makes up for 2017 final fall to win 500m - Singapore's first short-track gold

Cheyenne Goh leading from start to finish to win the short-track speed skating 500m by over a second. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Cheyenne Goh leading from start to finish to win the short-track speed skating 500m by over a second. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

In Cheyenne Goh's maiden SEA Games final in 2017, she led, fell, got up and ended up third in the 500m.

Yesterday, Singapore's first Winter Olympian redeemed herself in the same short-track speed skating event, leading from start to finish to win the gold in 46.421 seconds.

She finished clear of Malaysians Dione Tan (47.594) and defending champion Anja Chong (47.657) at the SM Megamall ice rink in Manila to became Singapore's first Games champion in the sport.

The Republic had four silvers and one bronze in Kuala Lumpur 2017, where winter sports made its debut at the biennial multi-sport Games.

"I was just happy I actually did it, it definitely means a lot," said Goh. "It's one thing I was hoping to get (at the last Games) so, in a way, it was a bit of redemption for me."

The 20-year-old trains under the University of Calgary's Olympic Oval high-performance programme, where the volume of speed practice she has done contributed to her confidence for the race.

But she said: "I wouldn't say I was expecting the gold because all the competitors are quite close in standard. I was definitely hoping for it."

Her race plan was simple: "Get a good start and keep the lead, there's not really much more to that since the 500m is so short."

She will race in the 1,000m today. In 2017, she was second to Chong.

Goh qualified for last year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where she competed in the 1,500m heats.

After that, the Canada-based skater moved from Edmonton to Calgary, where she has been training for the past 18 months.

She returned to Singapore before the Games to train with the relay team and the efforts paid off as the quartet comprising Goh, Victoria Chin, Amelia Soo and Suvian Chua finished third in the 3,000m relay behind Malaysia and Indonesia.

It was a "messy" race that saw the skaters fall at least twice, said Goh.

"But we didn't give up at any point. It didn't go according to plan but we figured out how to deal with the falls, so it wasn't too bad," she added. "We had a very specific order we had determined, like the number of laps, but it was difficult to keep up so we had to figure it out on the spot."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2019, with the headline 'Goh picks herself up for gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe