SINGAPORE – United States Track and Field high performance coach Brian Yokoyama believes Singapore has the infrastructure to do well in pole vault, but not enough is done to promote it.
And winning medals is one of the best ways to bring the attention needed to raise the profile of pole vaulting and provide youths with more opportunities to be exposed to it.
“Singapore has outstanding facilities, equipment and coaches, so it is strange why the sport is not that popular,” said Yokoyama.
“I believe that attention is the key to helping the sport grow here. Unfortunately, people here are not exposed to pole vaulting frequently.”
Speaking at the end of a three-day pole vault workshop at the ITE College East last week, Yokoyama added: “In the USA, we do pole vaulting in the middle of the street, and it is visible to many.
“No one comes to the track, but we take the event to them. This definitely can be replicated in Singapore, especially because of her high population density.”
Singapore is not known for pole vault, with Edwin Chong’s bronze medal finish – he cleared 4.70m – at last November’s SEA Games in Indonesia being one of the Republic’s more notable recent results.
Raffles Institution and Singapore Management University coach Ng Kean Mun, a former pole vaulter, believes it takes more than just medals to raise the profile of pole vault.
“Even though the infrastructure is in place, not every athlete gets to benefit from it,” he said.
“Sub-elite athletes may not be entitled to the same type of support a SEA Games athlete would get, even though they need it as well.”
Hwa Chong Institution coach David Yeo added: “Pole vaulting is not cheap. Equipment like the runways and poles can cost up to S$60,000. Unfortunately in Singapore, medals always have to come before support.
“Results may not come quickly, especially since pole vaulting was only included as a national school sport last year. But we already have a lot of impressive results at youth level, and that should be recognised.” Deborah Ong said.
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