Over Any Hurdle: En Route to the National Inter-School Track and Field Championships 2016

By Rachel Lim (16A01E)

On 29 April 2016, the National Stadium seated a crowd of roaring spectators in the thousands-strong, boasting students from schools ranging from Cedar Girls’ Secondary to Victoria Junior College. With cheering competitions, ‘flexcams’ claiming their enthusiastic victims and the initiation of the quintessential ‘Kallang wave’, there was hardly a dull moment for members of the thundering audience.  So when the pin-drop silence hit right before each race, ushered by Nila the SEA games mascot on the massive LED screens, the tension in the stadium was almost palpable. Under the eyes of a sea of nearly 15,000 peers and judges, the grand stage was set with the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands looming in the backdrop, and the athletes only had one goal in mind.

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The scene of the A Division Girls’ 800 metres finals (Source: Rachel Lim)

Such was the pressure that the athletes faced during the Track and Field Finals this year, where their fates were somehow going to be sealed in just the hundredths of a second, faster than a blink of the eye. Thankfully, many of our competitors from Raffles Track and Field saw their hard work and determination bear fruit, earning podium positions in 15 final events. One of them was Joshua Chua, who achieved a new record time of 10.87s in the B Division Boys’ 100 metres final on top of his gold.

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Joshua Chua set a new record in the B Division Boys’ 100 metres (Source: TODAY)

Aside from Joshua Chua, the entire boys’ team attained similarly stellar results. Mohammad Shafiq Anshad (17A01D) clinched 1st in the A Division Boys’ 1500 metres, while RI’s relay team achieved 1st in both the A Division Boys’ 4 x 100 metres relay, and the A Division Boys’ 4 x 400 metres relay.

The girls were also a force to be reckoned with. Amirah Aljunied (17S06H) won the gold in the A Division Girls’ 100 metres and the relay team came in 1st in the A Division Girls’ 4 x 100 metres relay, amongst other impressive achievements.

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Amirah Aljunied achieving a personal best of 12.97s (Source: Les Tan/Red Sports)

However, the road to the top was definitely not without hurdles. “[A highlight] for Track this year,” according to Boys’ Captain Bryan Wong (16S06L), “would be winning even though we were down with a lot of injuries.”

He went on to recount a few harrowing yet heartening tales of track members who competed with injuries and won or never gave up, against the odds. This included Jordan Chia (17S07B), who clinched 1st in the shot put finals despite having a fractured finger. Moreover, high jump competitor Justin Lee (17S06J) suffered from a Grade 2 tear on the hamstring but still managed to accomplish a new personal best of 1.93m in his event. Last but not least, Chester Lee (16S06F) persisted in his 5000 metres race even though it meant crawling his way to the finish line, quite literally. In the event, Chester was in 3rd place but collapsed with only 120 metres remaining due to heat exhaustion. Nevertheless, he collected himself and continued to run before falling yet again only 10 metres before the finishing line. From that distance, he finally dragged himself to the ending point of the race.

These remarkable acts of sheer resilience demonstrated by the aforementioned track members are certainly a testament to their personal strength, as well as an overwhelming team spirit. As Bryan Wong comments, “I guess when your teammates want it so much, we know we’ll win the fight.”

With the conclusion of the Track and Field championships, we leave you with the track motto: “It is we who will be known forever by the tracks we leave behind,” and Raffles Press wishes the whole Track team a similarly spectacular season in the coming years.

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A beaming team after the championships were concluded. Congratulations, Track and Field! (Source: Raffles Track and Field

The full results of the Track and Field championships can be found here.

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