An amazing 11 records went a-crashing at the 49th National Schools Track and Field Championships at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium today as long-time observers of the annual competition were left rubbing their eyes in disbelief.
According to these long-time observers who are veteran teachers and coaches, this is the first time that so many school marks were shattered on the same day – the sixth day of the eight-day long Championships.
What was even more remarkable was the fact that ALL the records in three events were broken in one afternoon, namely the Boys A, B and C Division 400m marks, the Girls A, B and C Division 400m records and the Girls A, B and C Division hurdles records.
That’s not all – a new national Girls U-17 400m record was also set.
Day Six of the Championships had started off tamely in the morning with two records being broken. Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) got the ball rolling by breaking the Boys C Div 4x400m relay record in the heats.
The school, a traditional athletics powerhouse, clocked 3min 38.29sec to squeeze out the Singapore Sports School’s prevailing mark of 3min 38.92sec which was set in 2006.
Hwa Chong Institution’s Cai Jiashen then brought the curtain down on the morning’s programme in style by setting a new record in the B Division Boys shot put final. He hurled the iron ball 15.74m to break Chia Chang Yi’s 2002 record of 15.53m.
Even then, the two records were no indication of the tidal wave of record-breaking feats that was to come in the afternoon. Not only that. The new marks came in such quick succession that the spectators and coaches watching from the stands of the Choa Chu Kang Stadium were simply left agog.
Hwa Chong Institution’s Amanda Tan led the charge when she ran and leapt her way to victory in the Girls A Division 100m hurdles final. She clocked 15.47sec to break the 15.80sec record she had set in the heats on Thursday.
Singapore Sports School’s Noreen Herman then cracked the B Division 100m hurdles record when she breasted the tape in 15.35sec, shaving 0.07sec off the record 15.42sec set by Inez Leong of St Nicholas Girls barely 24 hours earlier.
Noreen’s school and training mate, Goh Weining, then made it a double for the Sports School when she won the Girls C Division 80m hurdles in 12.52sec, breaking Inze Leong’s 2007 record of 12.70sec.
The bloodbath continued in the next three events as all the records in the Girls 400m were just as mercilessly massacred. National Junior College’s Shalom See broke the A Girls record of 58.70sec when she romped home in 58.65sec but it was the following race which was to become the most talked-about of the lot.
Singapore Sports School runner T. Piriyah, after living for so long in the shadows of more-established contemporaries such as Dipna Lim Prasad and Valerie Pereira, finally announced her arrival as a future star to watch with a scintillating performance in the B Division Girls 400m final.
The Secondary Four student finished in 57.11sec, three seconds ahead of her nearest rival, to clock not just a new B Division record (old rec: 58.68sec by Dipna Prasad in 2007) but also a new national girls U-17 record.
Her winning time shattered Valerie Pereira’s three-year-old U-17 record of 58.03sec, making Piriyah the first person to set a national age-group record at this year’s Championships.
It is also her second schools record of the Championships. She had previously set a new record of 66.05sec in the heats of the Girls B Division 400m hurdles on Tuesday.
Clara Poon of Cedar Girls School then made it a collective hat-trick of 400m records when she won her C Division final in 60.48sec, breaking Dipna Lim’s three-year mark of 60.98sec.
After rubbing their eyes in disbelief, the spectators at Choa Chu Kang were left wondering whether any more records would be broken in the remaining nine events. They didn’t need to wonder for too long.
The final three records of the afternoon came in the next three events – the Boys A, B and C Division 400m finals.
Nineteen-year-old Millennia Institute student Shalindran Sathiyanesan became the toast of his school when he recorded a new personal best of 49.35sec to break the A Division record of 49.39sec (Muhd Firdaus Juhari, 2002). The fact that Shalindran had only set his previous personal best (50.20sec) at the Akira Swift Open in June is a clear sign that the teenager’s running career is on the rise.
Shalindran’s performance must also have inspired Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)’s Ng Chin Hui as the latter raced home in 51. 97sec in the next race to erase Jamie Ross Coates’ record of 52.42sec.
That, in turn, must have been a huge source of motivation for Singapore Sports School student Jamie.
Annoyed at seeing his name wiped off the record books, the 16-year-old English teenager turned in a fantastic performance in the B Division final as he crossed the line in 49.75sec to break Vernon Vijayan’s 2000 record of 50.21sec and to set the 11th and final record of the afternoon.
Today’s results mean that, to date, 17 schools records have already been broken since the annual championships started on 3 July. The other six new marks are:
i. Boys A Div shot put – Scott Wong (Hwa Chong Institution), 16.79m (OR: 16.28m, Scott Wong, 2007)
ii. Boys C Div 100m hurdles – Sean Toh (Victoria School), 13.93sec (OR: 14.20sec, Muhammad Nazri Ishak, 2005)
iii. Girls A Div javelin – Tan Xin Yin (HCI), 41.87m (OR: 41.20m, Xie Yu Ru, 1989)
iv. Girls B Div 400m hurdles – T. Piriyah (Singapore Sports School), 66.05sec (OR: 66.99, Dipna Lim Prasad, 2007)
v. Girls B Div triple jump – Mariam Shazana (Singapore Sports School), 11.56m (OR: 11.28m, Tai Xiao Hui, 2004)
vi. Girls C Div discus – Chan Zhi Xuan (Cedar Girls) 31.76m (OR: Wan Lay Chi, 30.21m, 2002)
For more detailed results, please see www.rjcat.com.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan