TODAY’s countdown to the SEA Games focuses on the young talent who have the potential to win medals both in Myanmar and at the 2015 Games in Singapore. We turn the spotlight today on pole vaulter Sean Lim, who was on the verge of quitting the sport in April but has since bounced back and is now seeking a podium finish in Myanmar …


SINGAPORE — Sean Lim remembers April 5, 2013, vividly.

The National Serviceman had just returned to his bunk at Jurong Camp when he received a SMS from his coach David Yeo informing him that his younger team-mate, 17-year-old Chan Sheng Yao, had just bettered his national pole vault record of 4.81m at the National Inter-School Track & Field Championships.

Having spent more than a year away from the sport, the 20-year-old was badly affected by the news of Sheng Yao’s 4.82m feat.

“NS (National Service) was very tough for me … I was too tired to train and I became complacent because I thought I had broken the record,” said Lim in an interview with TODAY at Hwa Chong Institution.

“Training became a chore and I wanted to spend my weekends with my family and friends. When I saw the SMS I was crestfallen and felt very helpless because I was stuck in camp and didn’t even see my record being broken. I was even more demoralised after that and I thought since my record was gone, I could fade away quietly.”

But his seven-year love affair with the sport was not over yet, and he returned to training in June after “missing the adrenaline of competing”. Reconnecting with pole vaulting — regarded as one of the most technical disciplines in the athletics schedule — was not an easy task for Lim, as he cited fitness, speed and confidence as hurdles he needed to overcome. In fact, he could not even clear the starting height of 4.20m at his first few competitions.

But centimetre by centimetre, the pole vaulter — who could only train once a week due to his NS commitments — found his groove again and leapt back into the national record books after clearing a height of 4.83m at the Singapore U-23 Open Track and Field Championships in October.

That also earned him a ticket to the Myanmar SEA Games in December, alongside team-mate Sheng Yao.




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