Asian Youth Games: Zheng Wen takes the mantle

Asian Youth Games: Zheng Wen takes the mantle

SINGAPORE - Swimmer Quah Zheng Wen had just one thought as he strode onto the Raff les Girls' School stage to receive the national f lag from Tan Paey Fern on Wendesday evening.

"Don't mess up," said the grinning teenager, who will be the nation's flagbearer at the upcoming Nanjing Asian Youth Games (AYG).

The 2012 Olympian is among 84 young athletes across eight sports who will do battle at the Chinese city between Aug 16 and 24, led by former national paddler Tan as the chef de mission (CDM).

The athletes and officials gathered on Wednesday evening at RGS for the flag presentation and pledge taking, witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.

There are many parallels to be drawn between Zheng Wen, 16, and his elder sister Ting Wen, 20.

Ting Wen was also 16 when she competed at the inaugural AYG here in 2009, and served as the Republic's flag bearer. Both siblings competed in the Olympic Games the year before their junior Games adventure.

Ting Wen finished the 2009 Games as the joint-top athlete after winning four golds and the Republic will look to Zheng Wen - holder of national records in the men's 400m free, 50m, 100m, and 200m back, and 400m individual medley - for honours in Nanjing this year.

Pressure

But an unfazed Zheng Wen said: "I wouldn't say there's pressure to emulate my sister, she was the same age as I am now when she achieved all those things four years ago and that gives me the motivation and the realisation that I can achieve a lot too."

While he said the competition would be tough, with the South Korean and Chinese swimmers being the favourites, the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student is aiming for new personal bests in the 200m free and 200m fly.

He is also competing in the 200m back, 200m IM and the relays.

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