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YOG 2014: Injury a dampener for flag-bearer Jonathan

A week before heading out to Nanjing for the Youth Olympic Games, the 17-year-old felt a strain to his right tricep, which he further strained during training.

NANJING: Four years ago, Jonathan Chan took part in the opening performance of the diving competition at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore.

Going through his paces at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex, the then 13-year-old told himself he would like to be at the next Games, as an athlete.

In March last year, at the World Championships in Mexico, Jonathan did enough to secure qualification for the Nanjing Games, and had the added honour of being the flag-bearer for the small Singapore contingent to the second edition of the Youth Games.

But while the 17-year-old has prepared as best as he can, he did not expect to be heading into today’s 10m platform diving competition less than 100 per cent fit.

A week before heading out to Nanjing, the Secondary 5 student at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) felt a strain to his right tricep, which he further strained during training at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Natatorium.

“I thought it was nothing much,” Jonathan said. “It was just a slight strain then. But then I pulled the muscle while training here in Nanjing on my second day after arriving.”

His coach, Xu Jie, said: “He did not tell me about the muscle strain before we came to the Games and now it has become worse, and we could have avoided it. I am not happy.”

Although Jonathan was initially advised to withdraw from the competition, he was cleared on Monday (Aug 25) to take part after undergoing therapy with the Team Singapore physiotherapist, as well as a doctor in Nanjing.

That left Jonathan in better spirits, as he will be the last of Team Singapore’s 18 athletes at these Games to see action, in what he describes as “the biggest competition” of his sporting career. And he will not be holding back on the harder moves when he gets on the platform.

“I cannot just do the basic flips and turns here … it is a high-level competition and I still want to do my best despite the injury,” he said. “I don’t expect to challenge for first place, given the quality of the field here, but I will give my best, within my limits of course.”

Apart from the individual 10m platform event, Jonathan will also be taking part in Wednesday’s mixed international team event.