S'pore's first Winter Olympian Cheyenne Goh finishes fifth in her 1,500m short track speed skating heat

Cheyenne Goh clocked 2 minutes 36.971 seconds and did not qualify for the semi-finals. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Cheyenne Goh, Singapore's first Winter Olympian, was fifth in her heat at the 1,500m short track speed skating competition at the Pyeongchang Games on Saturday (Feb 17).

Skating in the third heat at the Gangneung Ice Arena, the 18-year-old clocked 2min 36.971sec from 13.5 laps and did not qualify for the semi-finals, with only the top three in each of the six heats advancing.

Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands, the 2016 world junior 1,500m champion, was the top finisher in Heat 3 in 2:27.730. Australian Deanna Lockett (2:28.996) was second while Britain's Charlotte Gilmartin (2:29.005) finished third.

South Korean teenager Choi Min Jeong won the final in 2min 24.948sec, making up for her painful disqualification in the 500m final.

China's Li Jinyu took silver and Canada's Kim Boutin won a bronze to go with the one she earned in the shorter race, after which she was abused and threatened on social media over Choi being penalised.

Goh, who was third in the six-skater heat after the second lap and second after the third lap before dropping back, said: "I tried something new this race, because I don't usually go anywhere close to the front so that was definitely a new experience and I think trying something new is good."

She was cheered on by a group of about 20 supporters, including International Olympic Committee executive board member Ng Ser Miang and Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin.

On her impact for her fellow Singaporeans, Goh said: "Being able to qualify definitely gave winter sports a lot more exposure in Singapore and that's really important because it's not really a really big thing in Singapore yet.

"I guess it's kind of like carving a path and hopefully more people will gain interest and maybe think of trying it up. After all things like short track speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey are done indoors and there's rinks everywhere even in warmer places."

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