yu1(TeamSG Youth Sprinter, Lim Yu Hng)

By Circle Editorial Team

Current Team Singapore youth sprinter Lim Yu Hng was previously from Bedok View Secondary School. And his years of competing in the National School Games began in 2017 and will complete in 2022, with the conclusion of his tertiary studies at Hwa Chong Institution. He did make the podium once after finishing 4th in the C Division 100m sprint back in 2018. And Yu Hng's been in the National Team setup since March 2019. Here's the national sprinter in an email interview with Circle News.
1) How did you prepare for your debut at the National School Games?
For me, I first participated when I was a secondary 1 boy back in 2017. Back then, I did little preparation as I had yet to meet my current coach, Sky Khoo. Hence, the preps were very minimal as there wasn't much the CCA trainings could help. 
2) Which discipline were you competing in?
I competed in the 100m, 200m and also relays like 4x100m and 4x400m
3)Is it true that you were already competing since Primary School? If so, how would you assess your performances during primary school?
Yes, it's true. Funnily enough, I wasn't even doing sprints in primary school, but was instead doing high jump. In primary school, I was seen by my teachers as not fast enough to take part in sprints, but was able to jump high, which was why they selected me to take part in the high jump at the National Primary School Games. It turned out quite well, I remember finishing 6th overall in the 'C' Boys high jump event. 
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4) In your secondary school years, what was your target before the start of the NSG?
Over the years, my goals for each NSG differed in one way or another. When I was in Sec 1, my goals were to just try to make it to the finals, and see how fast a timing I could clock. In Sec 2, my goals were set on winning my first ever NSG medal and trying to get a spot on the Singapore Schools Team to represent Singapore Schools at the annual MSSM-LAWA-SSSC track and field championships. Sec 3 goals were more of the same, but I was more focused on clocking Personal Bests (PBs) rather than medals and positions as it was my first year competing in the 'B' Division. And in sec 4, that was when I set the toughest goals for myself. Get a top-3 finish for the 100m, become the National 200m champion,  and also make it to the ASEAN Schools Games. However, that season did not come into fruition as covid-19 happened. 
5) Did you feel nervous, especially the thought of competing against other top student athletes?
Of course! Especially during my early years competing at the NSG, the nerves were crazy. I guess most of the nerves came from my lack of racing experience, but partly due to the sheer atmosphere at the stadium, so many athletes having one goal, and only one chance. The pressure to deliver was definitely right up there!
6)How did you maintain your composure before the race?
I just told myself that the more I worry, the worse I will perform. I cleared my thoughts and focused on having perfect race execution. Once the command of 'On Your Marks' is given, I take one deep breath to calm myself further, and settled into the blocks. Once I get settled, everything around me is blocked out, the only 2 sounds I hear are 'Set' and  the sound of the gun. Once the gun goes off, its showtime!
7)Do you remember receiving any special advice just before competing?
I remember in 2019 just before the 100m heats, my coach told me this - "Don't stress over the first 30m of the race. Just make sure you get out well, stay relaxed and let your legs carry you through to the line. The race isn't won at 30m, it's won at 100m. No point trying to get out ahead in the initial stages of the race if you can't finish strong." That one piece of advice really helped me to race better for each subsequent race I had, and allowed my race execution to be much better.
8) Tell us about the actual Final race?
My actual final race has yet to come, as I am still competing at the NSG in the 'A' division, but I can talk about the last time I raced at the School Games. That race was the 100m 'B' Division Final. I remember having a good start, and was slightly ahead of the pack at the 30m mark. I tried to stay relaxed and executed my race as best as I could, but in the corner of my eyes I started to see the sheer power the other top athletes had, as they all started to surge in front with their top speeds. I tried to run with them, but of course, I couldn't keep up. I finished 6th in the final, which I would say wasn't too bad as it was my first year in 'B' division. That race also opened my eyes on how much work that's left to be done if I want to be the best!
9)Looking back now, how do you feel after having competed at the NSG?
I feel very grateful for having had the opportunity to compete at the NSG before the current pandemic had hit. The atmosphere at the National Stadium is surreal as there were many spectators from different schools, the track was world-class (called a mondo track) and the hush that sounded through the PA systems asking for silence just before a race starts. These experiences probably cannot be replicated in the next few years, therefore I am very grateful to have experienced it all. 
10)If there's 1 lesson/experience that you learnt from the School Games, what would that be?
One thing that I have learnt is to really enjoy every race that I'm running. Even though I may not win the race or get a good timing, the fact that I am racing with so many other people in the same competition venue, really let me learn how to enjoy such a competitive atmosphere and all the races I get to run. 
11)Did competing in the NSG prepare you for the journey into TeamSG?
Definitely. Racing at the NSG allowed me to execute my races better and also stay more composed before the race starts. Representing TeamSG meant that I would have to go up against the best from other neighbouring countries, so these skills allowed me to race well, especially against even tougher opponents.
12)What advice would you like to share with the 2021 cohort of students competing in the NSG?
Appreciate the chances you get to compete this year. 2021 is a special year as many things have been changed. Enjoy your races, and give it your best effort. The NSG isn't all about medals and glory, but rather more of sportsmanship, perseverance and determination. The NSG experience is one that cannot be easily forgotten, and as this year is a special year, it gives you all the more reason to hold on to the memories forged at this year's NSG for many years to come. Strive hard, and all the best! 
(Yu Hng is 2nd from the Left - together with his fellow TeamSG squad youth sprinters)