Athletics: Lui sets national 1,500m record

Lui Yuan Chow (in yellow), a first-year student at Melbourne's La Trobe University, on his way to breaking the national record during the Vic Milers meet in Melbourne on Thursday. He finished sixth.
Lui Yuan Chow (in yellow), a first-year student at Melbourne's La Trobe University, on his way to breaking the national record during the Vic Milers meet in Melbourne on Thursday. He finished sixth.PHOTO: COURTESY OF VIC MILERS CLUB.

Student, 19, clocks 3:51.51 to beat Chamkaur's 3:51.59, after battling injury for nearly 2 years

Lui Yuan Chow battled injury for the better part of two years and even lost some confidence in himself, but the 19-year-old never struggled to stay motivated on the track.

His persistence paid off when he set a national record of 3min 51.51sec in the 1,500m during the Vic Milers track and field meet in Melbourne on Thursday.

The record is pending ratification by Singapore Athletics.

The Australia-based Singaporean, who finished sixth in the race, was pleasantly surprised by his result.

Recalling that he had clocked 4:02 in a time trial just four days before the race, he told The Straits Times: "Honestly, I haven't had a good race in a while so I really wasn't expecting anything.

"I wasn't planning to do anything or (achieve) any times, I just ran it. With about a lap to go, I felt good and I just ran...

" I (thought) I saw a 3:52 and that I beat my personal best, so I was super happy. After the race, I realised I ran 3:51 and I thought, 'That's awesome'. "

 

The previous national record of 3:51.59 was set by Chamkaur Dhaliwal Singh in 2002.

Lui had recorded his old personal best of 3:54 in January last year, but was sidelined after spraining his right ankle a few months later.

After recovering and resuming training, he then suffered a knee injury at the end of last year, and returned to training only in February.

As a result of the injuries, he could not clock his full mileage during training, and he estimates that he has been "training solidly" only for the last six months.

"All I remember is that I ran well in training until I went overseas (to Japan for the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in June), and maybe I was overstraining or my body wasn't used to it because I didn't have consistency in my training," said Lui, a first-year student at La Trobe University.

"I didn't race very well. It was demoralising. I was running really badly, so I decided to take time off and focus on the basics."

For a week after the Asian Junior Athletic Championships, Lui jogged once a day to "slowly reset everything".

Asked how he did not lose hope during that period, he replied: "I love this sport. I don't run just to race or to win and it's not just about (clocking) times for me.

"This is something I'm really passionate about, it's literally a part of my life... I'm just doing what I can to be better tomorrow."

His time meets the qualifying mark (3:53:68) for next year's SEA Games, which is pegged to the bronze-medal time from last year's edition in Kuala Lumpur.

But Lui's focus for next year is simply on running faster.

"I still have a lot of room to improve," he said, adding that he needs to work on being consistent without getting injured.

"(This result) has definitely got me a lot more motivated now and I'm going to continue to train hard and work towards continuing to lower my personal best."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2018, with the headline 'Lui sets national 1,500m record'. Print Edition | Subscribe