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Young talents shine at Track & Field C’ships

SINGAPORE — He may have failed to win the 110m hurdles, his pet event, last week, but Raffles Institution’s (RI) Joshua Chua fully redeemed himself yesterday as he emerged triumphant in the Boys’ B-Division 100m sprint at the National Inter-School Track & Field Championships.

SINGAPORE — He may have failed to win the 110m hurdles, his pet event, last week, but Raffles Institution’s (RI) Joshua Chua fully redeemed himself yesterday as he emerged triumphant in the Boys’ B-Division 100m sprint at the National Inter-School Track & Field Championships.

In front of more than 15,000 spectators at the National Stadium, the 16-year-old put on one of the best performances on the final day of the competition to set a new record of 10.87s.

He finished way ahead of David Tameeri (11.13s) of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) to eclipse the standing mark of 10.90s, while Singapore Sports School’s (SSP) Marcell Tan claimed the bronze with a time of 11.17s.

While Joshua is no stranger to success in the 100m sprint — he won the C-Division title at the Championships in 2014 — he admitted that yesterday’s performance came as a surprise to him, as he had just recovered from a foot injury.

“I wasn’t expecting this (win), because I was injured for the past year, and so I missed a few training sessions and competitions,” said Joshua.

“But I put my faith in God and He really helped me through this tough time. My main focus was just to finish first, and I did my best (in the race) so getting the record is, of course, a bonus.

“Special thanks to my teachers, coaches and team-mates for pushing me hard through every training, because I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without them.”

Three other records were broken yesterday, with the SSP setting new marks in the C-Boys’ 4x100m relay (44.52s), the C-Boys’ 4x400m relay (3min 35.17s) and the B-Boys 4x400m relay (3min 26.16s).

Meanwhile, Pasir Ris Secondary School’s Syed Hussein Aljunied enhanced his budding reputation as one of Singapore’s brightest middle-distance runners as he took home the gold in the Boys’ B-Division 1,500m race in a time of 4min 15.33s.

Thiruben Thana Rajan of National Junior College (NJC) won the silver in 4min 18.18s, while Nan Hua High School’s Joseph Hee (4min 19.11s) clinched the final spot on the podium.

It was Syed Hussein’s second gold medal in the championships, after his victory in the B-Boys’ 3,000m race last week. The 16-year-old also won his division’s cross-country title last month.

“Going unbeaten for the whole season really helps to build up my confidence for future seasons,” said Syed Hussein, who trains under Ghana Segaran, the national coach for middle- and long-distance running.

“It was a close fight (in the 1,500m) … but I’ve been training so hard for this, so thank God it paid off today.

“For now, I’m going to take it easy with my training and focus on my O-Levels. After that, I will slowly build up and improve and, if everything goes well, I hope to take part in the 2019 South-east Asian (SEA) Games.”

A total of 23 events took place yesterday, and after 12 days of competition, it was Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) that emerged as one of the most successful schools at this year’s championship, as they won both the C-Boys and B-Boys division titles.

However, they were unable to make it a clean sweep of the Boys’ titles, losing out to RI in the A-Division by 34 points.

Nonetheless, HCI’s Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) teacher-in-charge Tok Aik Lin was delighted with how his charges performed, especially after they managed to reclaim the B-Division title following three barren years.

“We are very proud of our boys, especially after losing the B-Boys title for the past few years,” said Tok. “They were hungry for the victory and have been working harder each year since losing the title.

“This victory is a result of all the hard work and resilience they have shown, while trying to balance the heavy demands in other areas of their school-life. It would have been nice to make it a clean sweep, but kudos to RI for their win.”

In the Girls Championships, Victoria Junior College (VJC) took home the A-Division trophy, pipping HCI by just eight points.

Cedar Girls’ Secondary School (CGS) won the B-Girls title, while Nanyang Girls’ High School clinched the C-Division title.

The two most successful athletes in the championships came from the SSP, with the duo of Diane Pragasam and Reuben Reiner Leong both winning four gold medals apiece.

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