Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Olympics: Tao Li still good for 2016, says Ang

SINGAPORE: Tao Li's performance at the London Games may have lacked the sparkle she displayed in Beijing four years ago, but Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) head coach Ang Peng Siong does not believe that the butterfly specialist is past her prime.

Speaking to the media at the Team Singapore welcome reception at Changi Airport on Monday, former Olympian Ang said: "From Beijing until now, obviously Tao Li has hit different hurdles in her preparation (with the change in coaches). Again, we need to have that sorted out four years ahead of time and not at the last minute.

"Despite all the challenges that she had, she still did the best time in a non-performance-aided suit ? there is progression especially in the 100m back and she has achieved a national record. That has got us excited for the future games like SEA Games and Asian Games."

Tao Li will be 26 when the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games comes along, but Ang said age is not a consideration. "It's passion and determination in the individual that defines whether they want to continue in the sport and we're talking about swimmers in sprint events who are in their 30s," he said. "It's really up to Tao Li to make that decision."

Ang also gave the swimming team an "average" rating, as only Tao Li had attained a personal best out of the five-strong contingent, which included rising star Joseph Schooling, Lynette Lim, Mylene Ong and Quah Zheng Wen.

Said Ang, who will step down from his position after the Olympics: "In my opinion, I would love to have a dedicated sports science team to be able to work with the swimmers for four to six years, not at the last minute. It should be a very focused approach, single-minded in getting the results we want, and there needs to be closer working relations with swimmers who are based overseas." -

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