Teenage 100m sprinter Mark Lee Ren was Singapore’s hope at the World Athletics Under 20 in Cali, Colombia.
But the 18-year-old debutant clocked 10.69s in Heat 4, missing his personal best by 0.1s and did not qualify for the semi-finals.
He was pit against Jamaica’s Sandrey Davison, whose personal best is 10.20s, and Japan’s Hiroto Fujiwara, who clocks 10.29s as his.
Speaking to TheHomeGround Asia after, Lee says, “The experience of being here on the world stage has been very enriching and is one that I am extremely grateful for, but there’s a heavy feeling of regret and disappointment because I wasn’t able to execute my race and showcase my ability and hard work on the biggest stage.”
Lee’s journey to the world stage
Lee, a student of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), had a memorable National School Games (NSG) campaign in April, where he broke decade-long records in both the A Division boys’ 100m and 200m.
His 10.59s effort at the NSG‘s 100m final broke the previous record of 10.70s by Hwa Chong Institution’s Donovan Chan in 2012. It also helped Lee meet the 10.60s qualifying mark for the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Colombia in August.
Lee was also part of the Men’s 4x100m Relay Team that won the Bronze medal in the Finals at the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi. The team, comprising Lee, Marc Brian Louis, Joshua Chua Han Wei, and Ian Koe clocked a timing of 39.44 to finish in third place out of eight.
Former national sprinter Hamkah Afik and national decathlon record holder Tang Ngai Kin have been coaching Lee since he took up track and field as a co-curricular activity at Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) after taking part in the 80m hurdles at a sports meet.
On his performance at the World Athletics U20, Hamkah says, “Mark is very driven and he will go far. With a bad race and still running 10.69s, he knows it. Growth mindset matters.”