Singapore canoeists miss out on Rio 2016 despite making history

November 8, 2015 in News by Singapore Canoe Federation

Singapore’s canoeists have failed to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games, despite winning three medals at the Asian Canoe Sprint Championships – the nation’s highest tally ever at the meet.

Published on Nov 08, 2015 by Abhishek Ravikrishnan and Justin Ong

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s canoeists have failed to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games, despite winning three medals at the Asian Canoe Sprint Championships – the nation’s highest tally ever at the meet.

Canoeists Mervyn Toh and Stephenie Chen won Singapore’s first-ever singles kayak medals at the meet in Palembang, Indonesia on Saturday (Nov 7), clinching bronze medals in the men’s and women’s K1 200-metre events respectively.

Mr Toh clocked 37.671 seconds, while Chen finished with a timing of 44.203 seconds.

On Thursday, Lim Yuan Yin ended Singapore’s 12-year barren spell at the meet when she bagged a bronze in the women’s C1 500-metre race.

It has been a good outing for Singapore’s canoeists at the continental meet, which also serves as the final qualifier for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games. However, only the winner in each race is guaranteed a spot.

This means Singapore have failed to secure a place at the 2016 Olympics.

Mr Francis Ng, Vice-President (Strategic Development) of the Singapore Canoe Federation, said: “While our athletes have not been able to qualify for Rio, their performance in Palembang has exceeded expectations. We look forward to their continued improvement under the guidance of Balazs Babella, with an eye on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Games.”

CANOEISTS “VERY HAPPY” DESPITE MISSING OUT ON RIO

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Mr Toh said winning a medal was his target for the championships and he was “very happy” to have achieved it.

“The competition was tough as expected and I knew I had to perform at my best to win a medal,” he said.

“During the heats I started out too hard and couldn’t keep the pace during the second half of the race. For the final I tried to relax a little after the start and save something for the second half. I think the tactic worked and I was able to hold on until the end,” he added.

Mr Toh also said he was not disappointed about not qualifying for the Rio Olympics. “Qualifying for Rio was always a long shot. Realistically a medal was my main goal so I wouldn’t say I am disappointed about missing out. I definitely want to try again the next time,” he said.

Ms Chen expressed similar sentiments. She said she was “really happy” with the results, and was glad to know that the team has improved over the years.

When asked on her thoughts about missing out on qualifying for Rio, she said: “It’s a little bittersweet, but I know it’s also a process and everyone is improving. I just have to improve faster the next time round.”

For now, Ms Chen said she is looking forward to a break, where the team will get to reset and start afresh. “I’ll definitely try again,” she said.

 

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