Winter Olympics: Speed skater Lucas Ng thrilled with torchbearer experience

Singaporean speed skater Lucas Ng carrying the Winter Olympics torch during the part of the relay held in Incheon, South Korea, on Jan 11, 2018.
Singaporean speed skater Lucas Ng carrying the Winter Olympics torch during the part of the relay held in Incheon, South Korea, on Jan 11, 2018. PHOTO: SAMSUNG

SINGAPORE - It lasted no more than three minutes and felt like "less than one".

But the experience of being a Winter Olympics torchbearer on Thursday morning (Jan 11) will stay with Singapore speed skater Lucas Ng for the rest of his life.

The 29-year-old was still in disbelief hours after he completed his leg of the relay in Incheon, South Korea.

Ng was given the opportunity, as part of a tie-up between Samsung and The Straits Times.

"It was an amazing experience," he told ST over the phone.

"I must say a big 'thank you' to Samsung and ST for making this happen. This is my first time (being) involved in an event of this scale.

"Seeing and hearing the bystanders and members of the public cheering and screaming you on... it was overwhelming."

The torch will now make its way to Seoul, before arriving in PyeongChang for the start of the Feb 9-25 Winter Olympics.

Ng sheepishly admitted that he was not sure exactly where he ran in Incheon because of the rush of adrenaline coursing through him when it was his turn to run.

Along with other torchbearers from other countries including New Zealand, Malaysia and the Philippines, Ng was taken to his allocated spot on a convoy bus and waited for "a couple of minutes" for the runner before him to arrive.

"Everything happened so quickly," he said.

"The guy before me arrived, we touched torches in what they call the 'torch kiss', and I took it on from there.

"The whole thing was only two or three minutes long, and felt like a minute. But it was an experience money can't buy.

"A lot of us have grown up watching (the Olympics torch relay) on television. Never did I imagine that I would be one of those people on the other side of the screen.

"It really is a privilege, something I can bring home and keep with me the rest of my life."

Ng started skating competitively in 2010 and became Singapore's first Asian Winter Games representative a year later.

Based in South Korea since October 2016, he will now return to Goyang to resume his training.

Ng said the experience of being a torchbearer has given him a "boost", after a less-than-ideal 2017.

Just days before last year's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in August, he severed a tendon in his right hand in a training accident, which required 10 stitches.

He still managed to win silver medals in the 1,000m race and 3,000m relays event, but failure to claim the gold medal left him disappointed.

He also fell short in his bid to qualify for the Winter Games as a competitor.

Said Ng: "The fire and passion I have for the sport, has always been there.

"If not, I would not have continued after so many downs.

"This (torch relay) is yet another experience in my sporting career, and it's definitely a boost to be part of such an event."