The winner of Singapore’s first endurance cliffhanger challenge held on for over five hours.
Contributed By Reuel Eugene Tay
It’s not quite Ninja Warrior, but nevertheless a superhuman feat. Climbing instructor Jay Koh Zher Yeow, 31, clung on to a “cliff” for five hours, two minutes and two seconds, beating out 93 participants to take home S$10,000 and an Azimuth diving watch worth S$5,400. He was the winner of an endurance cliff hanger challenge at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza on June 18, where the object of the game was to hang on to a manmade cliff for the longest time possible.
The brand awareness event was organized by the Azimuth Watch Company, a Singaporean company which produces avant-garde Swiss-made luxury mechanical timepieces.
The heats for the challenge, which began at 7:30 a.m., sifted out the final 20 participants, all experienced climbers from a pool of 94 hopefuls.
The participants were first allowed to hang from the rocks in any manner they chose; some swung their legs and arms around. In the third hour, they were asked to remove one hand. In the fourth hour, they were not allowed to lift any of their three limbs from the wall—in other words, there was no rest. By this point, several participants threw in the towel; some even resorted to using their teeth to grip the smaller rocks.
At the 4:45 mark, the remaining six participants were instructed to hold on with only one hand and one foot. Fifteen minutes later, only two were still holding on—Koh and Jonathan Hwa Song Yi, 24, a business studies undergraduate at the Singapore Management University. When they were asked to hang on with only their hands, the latter managed to hang on for another two minutes before he dropped off, leaving Koh the last man clinging.
“In rock climbing, we call it ‘chicken wing’—when you see a climber’s arms start to flag out like a chicken, you know that he will not be able to hold on much longer. I was just about to ‘chicken wing’ myself!” Koh recalled of the gruelling last few minutes. “Climbing may seem like a very physical sport but it actually takes more mental strength,” he added.
Known widely as the “Mr Strong” of the local climbing community, Koh, who has been climbing professionally for 11 years, will also be representing Singapore in the SEA Games 2012 for Sports Climbing.
“This challenge epitomizes our philosophy of challenging ourselves to explore new boundaries in the area of watch-making, and we are proud to be associated with extreme sports and the sportsmen who continually push the limits of human abilities,” said Christopher Long, who founded Azimuth with his business partner, Alvin Lye.
The Azimuth boutiques are located at Marina Bay Sands (2 Bayfront Ave #B1-87 the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands) and Mandarin Gallery (333A Orchard Road, #02-20).