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2021 SEA Games Men's 1500m Preview and Predictions

Spoilers: Singapore will not win a medal, and you shouldn't be surprised.

Jeeveneesh Soundararajah and Ethan Yan will represent Singapore in the men's 1500m at the 2021 SEA Games today (14 May).

After finally finishing the last of 7 exams/coursework submissions for the year, I am enjoying a well deserved break from studying law. This comes just in time for the start of the 2021 SEA Games, with the athletics calendar beginning today, and I am looking forward to watching the events as a track and field enthusiast.

However, I think that as anyone who has tried to properly watch or follow a SEA Games will testify, finding information on how to watch a live stream has been hard, and it's even more difficult to even figure out who is running which event before the athletes step onto the line for the start of the race. The official SEA Games website doesn't seem to show the startlists, while English media coverage does not provide any pre-race analysis or information to help spectators follow athletics properly, unlike football for example. This could simply be down to lack or time or expertise to cover athletics in such depth. We don't have a or a that covers the athletics scene at the SEA Games.

Rather than sit around and fret about the lack of coverage, I thought I could do my part to help readers follow athletics at the SEA Games! After all, being an athlete who has competed at two SEA Games and who has decent writing skills, who better than me to get something going, and hopefully it helps all fans who are trying to follow the sport.

This will be the first of my SEA Games 2021 event previews/predictions. I will try to cover as many events as I can, but it will of course depend on the information I manage to hunt down for each event. I will prioritise the distance events and events with Singaporean participation.

With all that being said, let's dive into my preview and predictions for the Men's 1500m Final.

Men's 1500m Startlist:'s Prediction:

Kieran Tuntivate of Thailand to win gold easily and possibly break both his personal best (PB) of 3:47 and the SEA Games record of 3min 45.31sec if he really wants to go for it. That 3:47 1500m PB of his is slightly misleading as he really has a mile (1,609m) PB of 3:57, which equates to about a 3:42 1500m. On paper, he is at least 10 seconds better than the rest of the field. However, one thing that could possibly hinder his performance is jet lag. Kieran grew up, lives and trains in the USA, currently with the Bowerman Track Club, one of the strongest distance training group in the world led by Coach Jerry Schumacher.

Tran Van Dang and Luong Duc Phuoc of Vietnam for silver and bronze. Prabudass Krishnan who soloed an impressive 3:54 1500m PB in Singapore last month is also a realistic medal hopeful, but the Vietnamese might have the edge in a close finish with the home ground advantage. Prabudass' better chances may lie in the 5,000m.

Notably missing this year is multiple SEA Games 800m/1500m gold medalist Duong Van Thai of Vietnam. He was beaten at the Vietnamese championships by Tran, in what was a huge upsef t, and the legendary Vietnamese runner will miss out on the SEA Games for the first time since making his first appearance at the 2011 SEA Games, and winning at least one gold medal in each of the five SEA Games he has been to.

You won't see this often - Duong Van Thai beaten at the national championships, by Tran Van Dang.

Singapore medal chances:

Realistically, zero. But as the saying goes, anything can happen in a race.

Jeevaneesh (4:00 PB) and Ethan (4:07 PB / 4:06 unofficial) have done very well to raise their game and have improved a lot in the lead up to the SEA Games. I have witnessed all of, having had the opportunity to train with them and set my 1500m PB of 4:01 in the process.

But ultimately, they are up against much better opponents and sometimes that is sports. Jeevaneesh as a working adult and Ethan who qualified for the SEA Games while serving his National Service should be rightly proud of how far they have come. But to seriously contend for medals, Singapore will need a proper coaching, funding and support system for its athletes, like powerhouses such as Vietnam and Thailand are doing.

Jeevaneesh and Ethan should however be able to use the excitement of the SEA Games atmosphere and the strong competition to raise their game one more time and score personal bests. That will be as good as huge wins for the two athletes who have come so far on their own accord and with pretty much no government support for their preparation. Coach Steven Quek should also be rightly recognised for bringing them so far and managing to overcome multiple challenges through the COVID-19 pandemic which has severely impacted training and competition opportunities.

Enjoy the race, and let's cheer our boys on!

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