Cheyenne blazing a trail at Winter Olympics
Singapore teen to make short-track speed skating debut at the Pyeongchang Games on Saturday
While most in Singapore are welcoming the spring over the Chinese New Year holidays, Singapore teenager Cheyenne Goh will be blazing a trail at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The short-track speed skater will make history by becoming the first Singaporean to compete at the Winter Games, when she takes part in the women's 1,500m event on Saturday (Feb 17).
Goh, who has watched some of the short-track races, told The Straits Times: “You always see the Olympic events on TV, but it’s a definitely way cooler experience to be there and be a part of the atmosphere.
“Every time the Korean team makes a move, you just hear the crowd go wild and it’s pretty cool.”
The 18-year-old has been practising with the Korean team, which she admitted was “a bit intimidating, because they’re all so fast”.
On Saturday, Goh will be cheered on by a group of 15 family members – including her parents and two brothers – and friends at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
National coach Chun Lee Kyung explained that Goh does not usually fall victim to nerves before a race as she “really enjoys racing all the time”. Yet she acknowledged that it might be different on Saturday due to the significance of the occasion.
“It’s something she will have to learn to control on her own, but I will try my best to calm her down and help her relax before her race,” the four-time Olympic champion told The Straits Times.
The South Korean will advise her young charge to just enjoy the race, be aggressive, be confident and take the lead if and when there is a chance.
The field includes two-time 1,500m Olympic champion Zhou Yang of China and world-record holder Choi Min Jeong of South Korea, and Chun knows her charge has a slim chance of advancing past the heats.
But she stressed that that was not important, noting that the Pyeongchang Games could be a turning point for Goh.
Said Chun: “She’s still young, she has potential and I think after these Olympics, a lot will change. Maybe she will realise how much harder she has to train, or become more serious about training... I’m very satisfied with her progress so far.”