Yi Ren claims A Boys' javelin gold with personal best
RJC thrower overcomes nerves to set personal best and win A Boys' javelin gold
He started as a hurdler for Nanyang Primary School but, when Tan Yi Ren entered Catholic High School, his coach labelled him "different" and moved him to throws.
That move paid off yesterday, when he bettered his previous personal best of 49 metres with a throw of 53.75m to help Raffles Junior College retain the A Division Boys' javelin title.
"I did not expect this at all," the 16-year-old (photo) told The New Paper after the event at Hwa Chong Institution (HCI). "I just wanted to have fun, so I feel very happy.
"It's very important as an athlete to always give back to our school because they've provided us with a good environment to train.
"My coach told me to work on improving my technique and to always be relaxed."
Before starting his run-up, Yi Ren stood silently with his eyes closed and hands clasped around the javelin.
He roared with satisfaction after his 53.75m throw overtook silver medallist Justyn Phoa (50.40m) of HCI.
"I'm quite tense sometimes, so it's something I always do to try and maintain my chill," Yi Ren said, referring to his pre-throw routine.
RJC coach Akid Chong Mohd Isham admitted that Yi Ren's achievement came as a "pleasant surprise", especially as nerves usually hinder him.
"His throws are all very stiff, so I'm working on making him relaxed because it seems to help a lot," said the coach.
"It is actually very good progress for him because when he first came in, he was throwing 47 or 48m, so we are always working on his technique."
Akid revealed that Yi Ren and HCI's Wang Tingjia will represent Singapore at this weekend's South-east Asia Youth Athletics Championships in Thailand.
"This will definitely boost his confidence for the SEA Youths, so we hope that he can replicate or better his performance today," he added.
"At this stage, we are comparable to the Malaysians and Thais. But there might of course be some who will be throwing close to 60m, so that's where we are looking at.
"But, most importantly, we want to see that he is more consistent with his technique."
Tingjia was also in confident form, winning the B Boys' final earlier in the day.
The Secondary 4 student posted a personal best of 56.90m, smashing the competition's record of 53.26m set by HCI's Adriel Goh in 2007.
"It feels good to break the record; I have to thank the home support because they really boosted my confidence," the 15-year-old said.
"In training, my coach doesn't really allow me to throw far or make really long runs because it's easy to injure myself, so I will only try for a PB once a month.
"This result was 4m more than my PB, so I overachieved today."
- A Boys' javelin final: 1 Tan Yi Ren (Raffles Junior College): 53.75m, 2 Justyn Phoa (Hwa Chong Institution): 50.40m, 3 Zhu Bolin (RJC): 46.97m.
- B Boys' javelin final: 1 Wang Tingjia (HCI): 56.90m, 2 Ryan Teo (HCI): 50.68m, 3 Daniel Abdullah Harun (Singapore Sports School): 47m.
- C Boys' javelin final: 1 Kynaston Wee (Raffles Institution): 47.44m, 2 Hur Young Gwan (Victoria School): 41.82m, 3 Charles Wang (Catholic High School): 36.40m.