Well done, Dipna Lim-Prasad!
My sources tell me that the 18-year-old runner cracked the national women’s 100m hurdles record at the 86th Malaysia Open at Bukit Jalil this afternoon.
Although she finished last, she clocked 14.72sec to eclipse Eileen Chai’s record of 14.81sec which was set in South Korea in 2005.
It goes without saying that Dipna’s time is also a new national junior record too.
In fact, she broke the national junior mark twice today – she had clocked 14.84sec in the heats to erase Goh Wei Ning’s mark of 15.08sec.
It means that Dipna has already broken the national junior mark four times this year.
She first broke it at the Negri Sembilan Open in April (15.40sec) and then repeated the feat at the South-east Asia Junior Championships in June (15.20sec).
Dipna’s successes in the 100m is all the more impressive when you learn that the 400m runner and hurdler only made the switch to the 100m hurdles at the start of this year.
And her coach, Viatcheslav Vassiliev, is apparently confident that his young charge is capable of raising the bar several times next year. In fact, he is tipping her to qualify for the World Junior Championships. To do so means that she has to meet the qualifying time of 14.14sec.
If Dipna achieves that, it would also move her closer to becoming one of the top hurdlers in South-east Asia. As yesterday’s final results show, she is definitely not there yet.
Far from it, to be brutally truthful.
The times don’t lie: Yesterday’s final was won by Indonesian Dedeh Erawati, the reigning SEA Games champion, in 13.34sec. Sheena Antilano of the Philippines was second in 13.99sec while South Korea’s Ahn Jae Hee was third in 14.32sec.
But what Dipna has on her side is time and her youth.
She was the only teenager in an otherwise adult field yesterday. All the rest were in their mid-20s. Which means that with careful grooming and guidance, she has time and the potential to turn into a top hurdler.
By the way, Dipna’s feat also makes her the fifth Sports School student to enter the national senior record books for athletics.
The other four are Stefan Tseng (triple jump), Matthew Goh (long jump), Calvin Cheng (long jump, before it was broken by Matthew) and Mariam Shazana (triple jump).
Why am I mentioning this?
Because I want to leave you with a final thought: would all these breakthroughs have been possible if the Singapore Athletic Association had not ceded its youth development programme to the Sports School a few years back?
Back to Dipna again:
Great job, young lady! I look forward to keeping track of your progress in the hurdles in the coming months.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan