Ling Er Choo drives hard for the Kona podium

Ling Er Choo has been on a roll since her 10th-place finish in Kona last year, including an impressive overall win at Ironman 70.3 Colombo.

| February 27, 2018 | PERSONALITY

Ling Er Choo is interviewed after her overall win at Ironman 70.3 Colombo.

Ling Er Choo is interviewed after her overall win at Ironman 70.3 Colombo.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

After finishing 10th at last year’s Ironman World Championship in Kona, four-time Kona qualifier Ling Er Choo (SGP) has been making a very good case that a place the podium at this year’s Ironman World Championship is a very real possibility.

Evidence, you’re asking? How about her top age-group finish (seventh overall) at Ironman Malaysia last November? Or an impressive overall win at Ironman 70.3 Colombo last weekend?

“I came out of the water two or three minutes behind the leader, which I expected,” Choo said after the race in Sri Lanka. “I did the bike as I planned and came off the bike first. Then I executed the run as my coach (Jurgen Zach) told me and I got the win.”

Sounds simple, right? All you have to do is listen to coach Zack and you’ll win. (Zack, of course, is a multiple Kona podium finisher renowned for his awesome bike splits. Check out our interview with the German coach.)

Choo’s journey to Kona has been anything but simple. She was in a brutal cycling accident training for her first trip to the Big Island in 2009 that almost killed her and has used the memories of the horrific accident to fuel her drive ever since.

“When it gets hard, I think of the days where I’d wake up and visualise my wheelchair and crutches which used to be at the side of my bed ... back when I could not do any of the activities that I enjoy,” she told Channel News Asia last year. “That memory pushes me even harder. The more pain I feel (during races and training), the bigger my smile ... I feel so alive now.”

The hot, humid and windy conditions suited Choo in Colombo, Langkawi and Kona – she trains in exactly that stifling heat at home in Singapore.

“This is the type of weather I train in,” she said after the win in Colombo. “I like to race in South East Asia before Kona to get myself acclimatized.”

We can look forward to seeing Choo compete at Ironman 70.3 Sebu later this year, along with the world championship double (70.3 worlds in South Africa and the Ironman World Championship).

“I am hoping to make the podium this year,” she says of her ultimate goal in Kona.

Seems like that should be a lock – all she’ll have to do is listen to coach Zack and execute.