Taiwanese Athlete Yeh Shou-po: Mind over body

Read his story here.

The image is taken by Mabel Neo

The image is taken by Mabel Neo

TAIPEI(Taiwan News)- An athlete's reaction time is the crucial aspect of a top-level athlete’s technical skills, separating the able from the elite. Yeh Shou-po(葉守博) is the athlete with that has one of the fastest (if not the fastest) reaction time in Taiwan, making him the better "gunner," having a higher advantage above the rest.

What is reaction time?

According to Magill & Anderson about Motor learning and Control in 2014, the reaction time is defined as the interval of time between the onset of a stimulus, and the initiation of a response.

Therefore, in sprint events, there is a sequence to follow after the gun goes off. The sound of the gun travels to ear, and the athlete's ear registers the sound and sends an impulse to the brain. The brain then processes the sound then sends a signal to the athlete to start running. Upon receiving the signal, the sprinter will then go.

About the best "gunner"

I knew Yeh since he was a student in Taichung Municipal Changyi High School(長億高中). He is currently a freshman in the National Taiwan University of Sport, Department of Sport Performance (臺灣體育運動大學競技運動學系).

Yeh's reaction time is undoubtedly the fastest amongst the other Taiwanese athletes who participated in the National Intercollegiate Athletic Games which ended on May 2. His reaction time was 0.123s and 0.113s in the Men's 100m and 200m dash finals respectively.

He has an elder sister Yeh Ting-chun who is also an outstanding athlete which clinched two gold medals in the previous National Games. It was also his sister's who indirectly brought him to the track and field team. He mentioned in the interview saying,'' I locked myself outside the house when I was in my first year in my Da Ye Guo Min Junior High School(大業國中) and decided to find my sister to get the keys so that I could go home. This was how I first met my coach Chien Ching-hung(簡慶宏), and he invited me for training."

Yeh Ting Chun, a two-time gold medalist in the National Games.

Yeh also admitted that he was at his most rebellious period where Chien brought him into the track and field team for training and Chien lay the foundation for Yeh to safely engage in more intensive training as he grows older. This is crucial for an athlete as good techniques can help you avoid possible sports injuries.

Da Ye Junior High School Athletic Coach Chien Ching-hung

About Mind over Body

In an interview with Yeh, he said,"Not just our physical condition, especially for short-distance runners, the ability to control our thoughts somewhat determine the outcome of the competition." This is why he believes that he has to limit interruptions on and off the track. And the familiarity and consistency of routines during training do put him at ease, and these give him a sense of control over the outcome of his performance on the track.

Like Wang Wei-hsu, Yeh has also been on track running from the preliminaries to the finals, for a total of 10 events this year(100m, 200m, 4*100m relay and 4*400m relay). He mentioned how proud he was of the team during the games and told me that it was the team spirit and trust the teammates had between one another that made them successfully bag the gold medals for the National Taiwan University of Sport.

Yeh: Gratitude for the source of benefit

He thanked his mentor Chien Ching-hung and his high school coach Huang Chun-rong(黃春榮) for their guidance over the past few years. While Chien lay the foundations, Huang built up his speed endurance and improvised on his sprint-start technique. Yeh also says that this is the key to his consistent improvements in his timings he clocked in for recent competitions.

Yeh never forgets his roots. Earlier this year in March, he donated part of his prize money to Wu Quan Junior High School, Da Ye Guo Min Junior High School, and Taichung Municipal Changyi High School.

What's next for Yeh?

Yeh highly admires Japanese's 22-year-old sprinter Yoshihide Kiryū who is currently the record holder for Japan's Men 100m record, with a timing of 9.98 seconds. Apart from Yoshihide Kiryū, he is also looking forward to competing with another Japanese sprinter Aska Cambridge, China's Su Bing-tian and his fellow teammate Yang Chun-han in the upcoming Asian Games held in Jakarta.

Yeh qualified for the Men's 200m for the upcoming Asian Games held in Jakarta in the National Intercollegiate Athletic Games, clocking in 21.07s in the Men's 200m finals. Before the Asian Games, he would be representing Taiwan in the Taiwan Athletics Open and the 18th Asian Junior Athletic Championships 2018 held in Gifu, Japan in June.