Singapore Sports School hurdler T. Piriyah tried her best but cold not achieve the unprecedented act of breaking a national open record at the 50th Schools National Track and Field Championships this morning.
The 16-year-old rising talent, coached by Georgian Viatcheslav Vassilieve, was tipped by long-time athletics observers to break the 25-year-old national women’s 400m hurdles open record of 62.8 seconds set by Norshidah Ali in 1984.
After all, she had clocked an impressive 63.11sec at the Pacific Schools Games in December. And to prepare her for today’s event, Vassilieve had rested her from yesterday afternoon’s B Girls 4x400m relay.
But the Choa Chu Kang Stadium track, made damp by the early morning rain, and the lack of equal-calibre rivals in her final put paid to Piriyah’s hopes today.
Piriyah started out very strongly and was already a clear winner at the 300m mark as her rivals ate her dust. But despite pushing herself as hard as she could, she just could not break the 63-second barrier. She breasted the tape in 64.23secs, a timing which was even slower than the meet record of 63.86sec which she set at last year’s Championships.
But Vassilieve was philosophical about Piriyah’s miss. “There are several meets coming up this year, including this weekend’s Negri Sembilan Open, so there will be many opportunities for Piriyah to break the record,” he said.
“I am confident she will do it eventually.”
There were several other near misses at today’s Championships. Tanglin Secondary’s Ong Chin Hwee missed out on the B Boys 400m hurdles mark of 56.55sec when he stormed home in 56.83secs.
St Joseph’s Institution’s Edwin Tay was a distant second, finishing three seconds behind in 59.14sec while Hwa Chong Institution’s Samuel Tay took the bronze in 59.27sec.
Singapore Sports School’s Shanti Pereira missed out on breaking her older sister Valerie’s C Division 200m mark of 26.58sec when she won the event in 26.92sec.
Thia Yi Yi of St Nicholas Girls was second in 27.32sec, edging out North Vista Secondary’s Ruelia Nesaranjini (27.54sec) for the silver.
Finally, Raffles Institution JC’s Fiona Ng strained every sinew in the A Division 200m and ran out a clear winner. But her time of 25.88sec could not break the 2005 meet record of 25.61sec set by Lee Yan Lin in 2005.
HCI’s Chong Jia Yuan (26.19sec) and Joanna Chng of RIJC (26.37sec) finished second and third respectively.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan