Singapore Sports School runner T. Piriyah smashed her own national schools 400m hurdles record and came agonisingly close to setting a new national open and junior record at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium this morning.
The Secondary Four student, who is coached by former Georgian national hurdle champion Viatcheslav Vassiliev, was hardly challenged in the event as she breasted the tape in 63.86secs – almost five seconds ahead of nearest rival Inez Leong from St Nicholas Girls who finished in 68.01sec.
Penny Tan of Nanyang Girls was third in 70.70sec.
Piriyah’s win means that this is the second time that she has broken the schools record at the ongoing 49th National Schools Track and Field Championships. Her time of 66.05sec in the heats last Tuesday broke Dipna Lim Prasad’s record of 66.99sec.
However, she certainly showed everyone today that she could go much faster than that by shaving off an amazing three seconds off that record.
Piriyah’s new record was also the only new schools mark set today. To date, 18 new school records have been set at this year’s edition of the Championships.
Her feat also means that she has now set three records at the National Schools Championships – two schools records and a national U-17 400m record.
She achieved the latter on Friday when she powered home in 57.11sec to break Valerie Pereira’s 2005 mark of 58.03sec and become the first athlete at the Championships to set a national record.
Piriyah’s new personal best in the 400m hurdles means that she is now within striking distance of the national women’s open and junior records. Her time is just a second slower than Norshida Mohd Ali’s record time of 62.80sec which has remained unmatched since 1994.
However, the teenager will probably have to work a lot harder if she also wants to smash Chee Swee Lee’s national 400m record of 55.08sec. Chan set the mark at the 1974 Asian Games in teheran, Iran, and it has never been surprassed since.
But for now, Piriyah’s feats mean that she has now effectively stepped out of the shadows of Valerie Pereira and Dipna Lim Prasad to become Singapore’s current No 1 female 400m runner and hurdler.
The Singapore Sports Fan congratulates both Piriyah and coach Viatcheslav and is now keeping his fingers crossed that the young runner will soon see her name etched in the national open and junior record books as Singapore’s fastest female 400m hurdler.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan
(Note: Picture taken from www.sportsschool.edu.sg)