Lucas Ng up to speed in Asian Open

Lucas Ng (right) credits his three-bronze haul at the Asian Open to the input from new national coach Chun Lee Kyung.
Lucas Ng (right) credits his three-bronze haul at the Asian Open to the input from new national coach Chun Lee Kyung.PHOTO COURTESY OF VIC SENT POK

Singapore's speed skating team received a huge boost when four-time Olympic gold medallist and triple overall world champion Chun Lee Kyung came on board as the national coach on Nov 1.

And just a month on under the 39-year-old South Korean's guidance, they have already benefited.

National skater Lucas Ng set personal bests in three individual events (500m, 1,000m, 1,500m) at the recent International Skating Union World Cup legs in Nagoya (Dec 4-6) and Shanghai (Dec 11-13).

The 27-year-old also bagged a trio of bronzes in the same events at the Asian Open Short Track Speed Skating Trophy on Dec 16 and 17 in Manila. It was an improved showing from the first edition of the competition last year, where he took home a solitary bronze in the 500m.

Ng said of Chun: "It's a boost for the entire team when mentally we know her background - that she is the real deal. What she says, it's got to be right and we believe in her."

In the senior men's 500m final, he clocked 46.81sec to finish behind South Koreans Lee Mun Hyun (45.68) and Park In Wook (46.12).

In the 1,000m race, he clocked 1min 38.78sec, behind South Koreans Kim Yun Jae (1:37.66) and Lee (1:37.84).

Both the 500m and 1,000m races have a field of four in the final.

And in the six-man 1,500m final, Ng timed 2:29.09, behind Park (2:23.34) and Kim(2:27.84).

At the World Cup, Ng recorded new PBs in all his events - 2:25.32 (previous: 2:31.34) in the 1,500m, 1:31.08 (1:33.35) in the 1,000m, and 44.57 (44.81) in the 500m.

Sonja Chong, president of the Singapore Ice Skating Association, said: "I am pleased that Lucas has achieved personal best timings and brought home three bronze medals from the Asian Open. Chun has made some corrections to Lucas' skating technique which have borne immediate results."

Ng credited his improvements to Chun. The part-time skating coach said: "I've learnt a lot from her and applied it to competitions.

"For instance, instead of just doing our usual 10 laps of skating, she would train with different styles.

"In skating, when you squat an inch forward or lower, the way you swing your arms, all these add up and make a difference."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 20, 2015, with the headline 'Ng up to speed in Asian Open'. Print Edition | Subscribe