Team Singapore

Soh overcomes snow to finish strongly in Japan

With just one month of training, national marathoner Soh Rui Yong overcame strong winds and heavy snow to finish strong in his first race of the year in Japan yesterday.

Soh clocked 1hr 8min 37sec at the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, bettering his performance (1:08:51) at the Blackmores Half Marathon in Sydney last September.

Said the two-time SEA Games champion: "Most of us chose to compete in Marugame because the weather is pretty nice and the course is generally flat.

"Unfortunately, this was the one freak year when it snowed.

"Given the state of my training and the less-than ideal weather conditions, I think the result was very encouraging and I was very happy with my performance."

After winning the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in December, Soh took his first break in six years to go on holiday with his girlfriend.

The 26-year-old resumed training only last month.

"When I started training again, I couldn't even run three to four kilometres at my usual marathon pace," he said.

Soh will next compete at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, Spain, where he aims to be the first Singaporean to finish under 1hr 7min.

He believes this feat is "within his grasp" and is planning to head to Arizona for high-altitude training before the race next month.

Meanwhile, pole vaulter Rachel Yang also fared well at her first meet of the season, clinching the silver medal at the Queensland Open Athletics Championships in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday.

The 36-year-old leapt 3.60 metres to finish behind Australian Lisa Campbell (4.25m) and ahead of another Australian Hannah Williams (3m).

Yang, whose national record is 3.91m, is preparing for April's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

Team Singapore