Three Singapore runners fight for one wildcard Olympic spot
Sprinter Naqib and 400m runners Zubin and Ng vying for one ticket for Rio Olympics
Three athletes are neck and neck in the race to get the nod as Singapore's wildcard entry at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Two wildcards spots - one each for a male and female athlete - are given to countries that have no representatives who qualify on merit for the Games.
Singapore marathon woman Neo Jie Shi has qualified for Rio, so there is only the men's spot left.
The New Paper understands Singapore Athletics (SA) is likely to recommend either 200m sprinter Naqib Asmin, or 400m runners Zubin Percy Muncherji and Ng Chin Hui, to the Singapore National Olympic Council as a wildcard entrant for the August Games.
A panel headed by SA president Tang Weng Fei will come to a conclusion by early July.
SA vice-president (training and selection) C Kunalan told TNP: "We will follow the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) scoring table, but also have other (variables).
"We might look at record breakers, for example, but how are we going to decide which record is more important? The oldest record? Or something else?
"Another consideration is whether the athlete is a medal chance at the Asian Games level.
Zubin Percy Muncherji
"So there are a few things... And we are trying to decide at committee level."
The IAAF scoring table is based on statistical data and allows for a comparison of results across events.
In December, the SA announced that athletes who had previously represented Singapore at the Olympics as wildcard entries would not be considered again.
This rules out Calvin Kang, who represented Singapore in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and competed in the men's 100m, and is currently the top local track and field athlete going by the IAAF scoring table.
It opens a window of opportunity for Naqib, Zubin and Ng.
Naqib, 21, has recently made the step up to the men's 4x100m relay 'A' team and was the quickest local runner in the 200m at the 78th Singapore Open Track and Field Championships this past week, clocking 21.60sec. His personal best is 21.51.
Zubin, who turns 20 next month, broke Godfrey Jalleh's 40-year-old national 400m mark of 47.40 with a 47.29 effort in June 2014.
Ng, meanwhile, is currently based in the United States.
Ng Chin Hui
The 21-year-old is an economics undergraduate at the University of Oregon and has a personal best of 47.92 in the 400m, but is touted as a rival to Zubin.
Said Naqib: "It would be a great honour if I were to be selected.
"At my age, going to the Olympics... It has always been my dream.
"I don't have too many competitions before the deadline, so I just want to make use of whatever meets we have to try and get faster."
Zubin said: "If I get the wildcard slot, it'd be great.
"It's an honour for any athlete to represent their country at the Olympics.
"But, like my coach has been telling me, if I don't get it, it's okay because I'm still young.
"The main focus is to clock faster times now. If I lower my national record, my chances of getting that wildcard slot are a lot higher."