School sports: Discus thrower Anson Loh not content to break records, dreams of competing at SEA Games

Since joining Raffles Institution, Anson Loh has added both discus and javelin throw to his repertoire. PHOTO: VINCENT QUEK

SINGAPORE - With a hefty throw of 57.48m, Raffles Institution’s (RI) Anson Loh bettered the national Under-15 boys’ discus record (1kg) at Singapore Athletics’ Under-16/U-18/U-20 Championships on April 3, eclipsing the previous mark of 55.29m set by Dylon Lim in 2018.

But Anson, 14, was not done yet.

Just four days later, he improved on his own mark at the National School Games C Division competition, throwing 58.88m to smash RI alumnus Jonathan Low’s meet record of 53.66m set in 2014. 

The 1.77m teenager remained down to earth despite his feats.

“I felt slightly nervous and under some pressure. It was my last throw but I knew I could go further,” said Anson, referring to his latest effort.

“I just kept in mind what my coach and father said to me, which was to do my best and believe in myself and that they would be proud of me regardless.”

Anson began his throwing journey in Primary 4, competing in the shot put. Even then, he was no stranger to breaking records.

In the Inter-Primary Schools Track and Field Championships shot put (2kg) in 2018, Anson matched the 10.15m record and set a new mark the following year (12.97m).

Since joining RI, Anson has added both discus and javelin to his repertoire under the tutelage of coach Choo Chee Kiong. 

Choo first met Anson through his older brother Aloysius, who is also a thrower for the school. Before meeting Choo, Anson mainly trained under his father Amos, who was a school sprinter. 

Choo said: “He is committed to training and prepared to work hard. For his age, he is very strong. I have been looking at throwers since 1978. I would say he is among the top two I have come across.”

Anson’s recent feats were attributed to a “gradual and steady improvement” under Choo, who believes his charge will reach greater heights. “I am confident Anson can go on to bigger things like the SEA Games if he remains committed,” he said.

But the Sec 2 student will need to overcome some hurdles, including the increase in discus weight. He competes with a 1kg discus, whereas the senior event uses a 2kg discus. 

RI track and field teacher-in-charge Vincent Quek said: “The increase in the weight of the implement is proportional to the growth of the boys to men – from 1kg in C division, 1.5kg in B and A division, 1.75kg for youth to eventually the men’s 2kg.

“There would be some struggle initially with the change in weight but they should get used to the progression after a while.”

James Wong, who won nine SEA Games golds in discus and one in the hammer over two decades, was pleased to hear of Anson’s achievements. “It’s always nice to read and hear young athletes breaking any records. It means we are improving,” said the 53-year-old national record holder for the discus (59.87m) and hammer ( 58.20m).

He added that Anson’s achievements are a testament to his talent and maturity but said that to go further, he would need support.

“Bringing his talent to the next level is not easy. He will need lots of motivation and must want to continue and challenge himself to improve. 

“He will also need opportunities and support as well.”

Anson said his recent record is just one milestone in his journey. 

He said: “I plan to qualify for the SEA Games one day. But, for now, I am more focused on short-term achievements of hitting certain distances.

“This way I can pace myself and not pressure myself. Now, I am focused on getting ready for my next competition in the C Division shot put and just trying my best in that.”

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.