TeamSG's Ang Chen Xiang (Red Top) at the Hanoi SEA Games 110m Hurdles Final in 2022. Photo Credit : Sport Singapore/Jeremy Lee


Singapore's Athletics Association (SAA) has sent 3 athletes to compete in the 2023 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships (AIAC) in Kazakhstan. Delayed by a year due to the global pandemic and organised by the Asian Athletics Association, the 10th edition featuring the continent's top athletes will compete from 10-12 Feb in Astana. 

Since the tournament's debut in 2004, Singapore's only podium finish was Gary Yeo who clinched a bronze medal in the Men's 60meters final. The Team Singapore sprinter timed 6.87 seconds at the 2012 AIAC in Hangzhou, China. Meanwhile over in Astana this weekend, TeamSG's Ang Chen Xiang will certainly want to prove his standing against the continent's best. The 28 year old made the headlines in 2022, when he clinched the silver medal at the Hanoi SEA Games in the 110m Hurdles Final. It was the Republic's 1st medal in this event in more than 30 years! And ActiveSG Circle caught up with him recently for this brief profile video. (see below)


His performance of 13.94 seconds in Hanoi, marked the very 1st time the 9-time national record holder had gone under the 14-sec barrier. Chen Xiang is currently coached by his younger brother, Ding Hui. As a former national hurdler, 27 year old Ding Hui still competes at the club level and is the current national team manager. 


Ang Chen Xiang and Ang Ding Hui at Changi Airport, prior to departing for Astana for the 2023 AIAC. Photo  Credit : Singapore Athletics Association


As for Chen Xiang, his faith as a Christian is a big part of his performance and identity as an athlete. He says, "I listen to Christian worship music before my races. My favourite is “Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me” by CityAlight. This song always reminds me that my strength lies not in me, but in Christ who supplies me." And over in Astana, he will be competing in the 60m Hurdles.


TeamSG's Low Jun Yu training in the pole vault at Astana 2023 Photo Credit : Low Jun Yu


Back in 2019 at the National School Games, Hwa Chong Institution's Low Jun Yu took the gold medal in the Men's Pole Vault final, with his height clearance of 4.20meters. And less than a year ago at the Singapore Open, Jun Yu finished in 3rd place at 4.50m for his club, Zoom. Currently aged 21, he's now on the verge of making his debut at the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships.

His pre-event ritual is a nice cold shower right before heading off to the track, while the top song in his current playlist is "Cant Hold Us" by Macklemore. In preparation for his event, Jun Yu consumes more carbs and cold water. And his favourite pole vault memento is a picture of his first street competition in Singapore, when he started vaulting at age 14. (see photo below)

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TeamSG's Low Jun Yu (when he was 14) competing in the pole vault. Photo Credit : Low Jun Yu


"Back in 2015, I was a short and skinny boy with close to no belief that I could amount to anything in this sport. This photo just constantly reminds me of how far I have come in pole vault and makes me appreciate the progress I made and be especially grateful for my coach for not giving up on me even through times I had given up on myself," said Jun Yu. 


Low Jun Yu (left) and Koh Wei Shien at Changi Airport, prior to departing for Astana for the 2023 AIAC. Photo  Credit : Singapore Athletics Association


Completing TeamSG's representation at the Indoor Championships in Kazakhstan is another pole vaulter, Koh Wei Shien. The 28 year old will also be making his debut at the tournament, and a good outing should probably cement his chances of a spot at the Cambodia SEA Games in May. Looking back 4 months ago at the 52nd Singapore Athletics Inter-Club Championships, Wei Shien raised his personal best height clearance to 4.80m. (See video below)


Koh Wei Shien competing in the Men's Pole Vault at the 2022 Singapore Athletics Inter-Club Championships. Video Credit : Koh Wei Shien's IG

With his current PB at 4.8m, Wei Shien had provisionally qualified for the upcoming SEA Games. "Last October, I reached a major milestone in my pole vault life. In something of a season opener, I jumped a double PB with a start height of 4.60 followed by 4.80. This was also a championship record and the qualifying mark for SEA games, but who knows how it'll turn out. It's a competitive year this year. It was the first competition my parents and friends got to watch, and I'm glad I gave them something to be proud of. I've been saying soon for a while, and I'll only keep saying it. There's bigger things ahead," said Wei Shien. 

Scheduled to graduate from Duke-NUS to become a medical doctor in 2024, he's also aiming to break his team-mate Jun Yu's national record of 5.03m.