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Cheyenne Goh competes in the women’s 1,500m heats on Saturday. © Reuters
Cheyenne makes Winter Olympics history for Singapore

17 Feb 2018
Gangneung, Korea, February 17, 2018: Short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh made history for Singapore by becoming the island republic’s first Winter Olympian at Gangneung Ice Arena on Saturday night. Cheyenne, 18, competed in the third heat of the women’s 1,500 metres and finished fifth of six competitors when only the top three advanced to the semi-finals.

Still, she has broken through a wall as a winter sports athlete as Singapore joined neighbours Malaysia as Winter Olympics debutants here in Korea. Talking about her overall experience after the race, Cheyenne said: “I think the whole thing has been pretty overwhelming and super cool and amazing. I have really enjoyed it. It is definitely really special and a huge honour.”

Asked if the label as Singapore’s first Winter Olympian had proved to be a burden, she replied: “I think there is a little bit of pressure but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It made being here more special I guess and I am really happy to be part of this.” On the night, she had to wait slightly longer than expected for her first taste of Olympic action, as there was a false start in her heat to delay her skating. 

Later in the race, the Olympic Athlete from Russia, Ekaterina Efremenkova slid into the wall, leaving only five racers standing. Looking back on the race, Cheyenne added: “I think my race went all right and I am fairly happy, even though I was back. I tried something new in this race and having this experience is good.”

She admitted to making a bad mistake during the race that slowed her down, adding: “I was trying to catch back up with them and, when the Russian girl fell, I was kind of like if I don’t fall I won’t get last,” she joked. As for competing in a speed skating hotbed such as Korea, Cheyenne said: “This is definitely like a huge sport in Korea and the crowd is always super-pumped I guess and that is really cool.”

Regarding the future, she has the world junior championships and world championships coming up – and then she plans to move to Calgary later this year for school and training, with a view to competing at Beijing 2022. Cheyenne is now hoping her appearance in Korea has given winter sports more exposure in Singapore and that young people will try short track, figure skating or ice hockey in the indoor rinks and joining her as a Winter Olympian.
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