I bring you wonderful news from the Pahang Open today.
It has taken her two years but rising hurdling talent T. Piriyah has finally done it!
According to my contacts in Pahang, the 18-year-old Singapore Sports School graduate has broken the 26-year-old national women’s record for the 400m hurdles which was set by Norshida Mohd Ali in 1984.
Piriyah clocked 62.74sec, eclipsing Norshida’s time of 62.8 by a whisker.
I was truly happy for Piriyah and her coach, Viatcheslav Vassilieve, when I heard the news.
I’ve been tracking Piriyah’s progress for the past two years and still clearly remember how she came close to breaking the record last year.
She first burst into prominence in 2008 when she clocked 63.86sec in the B Girls 400m hurldes final at the National Schools Track and Field Championships.
What made her feat so amazing was that
a) she was five seconds ahead of her nearest rival and
b) she had set a new schools national record of 66.05sec (yes, you read that correctly) in the heats.
In other words, she shaved off an amazing three seconds off her record in the final.
You can read that story here: It’s record no 3 for Piriyah at National Schools C’ships
Piriyah then clocked an impressive 63.11sec at the Pacific School Games at the end of 2008 (see the story here), which set the stage for her to break Norshida’s record at the 2009 National Schools Championships.
If she had succeeded, she would have been the first student ever to break a national open record at the schools championships.
Sadly, she didn’t. The lack of a strong field saw her clocking 64.23sec instead (you can read it here)
And then it all went ‘downhill’ for Piriyah after that as she went through an indifferent patch of form for the rest of the year.
This is why I am so glad that she has finally succeeded.
It must have been tough on Piriyah these past 10 months to not reach anywhere near her fantastic times of 2008.
When one struggles for so long, an element of doubt about one’s own abilities is bound to slowly creep into the mind, and self-confidence is slowly destroyed in the process.
Piriyah’s time is still not good enough to win a SEA Games medal though.
At the 2009 SEA Games, Malaysia’s Noraseela Khalid won the event in 56.99sec while Thailand’s A. Winatho (58.00sec) and Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Bac (60.31sec) were second and third respectively.
But I am sure that this new achievement will be a huge boost to her confidence, and well, since the next SEA Games is a good 16-18 months away, I won’t be surprised to see her lowering the record a few more times in a bid to qualify for it.
My heartiest congratulations to Piriyah and Vassiliev. Here’s to more records being broken!
Yours in sports
Singapore Sports Fan