By REDintern Romaine Soh
ITE College East (Simei), Saturday, February 2, 2013 — Clara Wong of the National University of Singapore (NUS) won the 3000m gold in her maiden outing at the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Track and Field Championships, clocking a personal best of 11 minutes 14.41 seconds.
Vanja Cnops from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) finished just a whisker behind Clara to bag the silver with a timing of 11:14.48. Qua Bi Qi, also of NUS, was third in 11:21.88.
This year’s results have visibly improved from last year, with the top six runners going under the 12-minute barrier. In 2012, only the top two ran below 12 minutes.
Clara held the lead for most of the race, with Vanja, Bi Qi, and Mok Ying Rong from Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) settling into her pace. Sarah Chua from NYP had bravely taken the lead at the first 300m mark, but lost it to Clara by the third round.
The lightning fast first round, run in 83 seconds, started to take its toll on the runners, as the subsequent lap timings dropped to 92-93s per round.
As the bell sounded the final lap, Bi Qi overtook Ying Rong, ensuring that both NUS runners would have a podium finish. Meanwhile, both Clara and Vanja, who had earlier left Bi Qi and Ying Rong in the dust at the second last round, were struggling their way to the finish line, fatigue clearly etched on their faces.
Vanja sneaked up on Clara in the home straight, but the finish line came too soon, allowing Clara to win the gold with just 0.07s to spare.
Clara’s excitement at her win was evident from her huge smile.
“I’m very happy with my performance today! I actually expected Ying Rong to win, but the gold came as a pleasant surprise! Setting a personal best came as a bonus. The sweltering heat and the strong headwind at the back straight were rather unfriendly, but I’m glad I persevered!” said Clara.
Said Bi Qi, Clara’s NUS teammate: “I thought I could have run faster, but I started too fast. Thus, I couldn’t pick up the pace when the rest of the pack started to break off. My goal for the rest of the race was just not to let the gap widen.”
“Overall, I felt it was a good race. Hopefully I’ll come back stronger to clock a better timing next year. For now, I’ll focus on my studies. After which, I’ll focus on canoeing, since there’s a competition coming up in March. I’m considering taking part in some external cross country races for the fun of it!”
IVP 3000m Results
1st Wong Wan Qi Clara (National University Singapore) — 11:14.41
2nd Vanja Cnops (Nanyang Technological University) — 11:14.48
3rd Qua Bi Qi (National University Singapore) —11:21.88
4th Mok Ying Rong (Nanyang Polytechnic) — 11:32.37
5th Lim Sing Yi (Temasek Polytechnic) — 11:41.01
6th Louisa Chiew (Nanyang Technological University) — 11:57.89
7th Ng Qiao Feng Jolynn (Singapore Polytechnic) — 12:03.42
8th Neo Swee Hong (Singapore Institute of Management) — 12:52.97
9th Lai Jang Wai (Ngee Ann Polytechnic) — 13:05.96
10th Chua Hui Ling Sarah (Nanyang Polytechnic) — 13:05.97
11th Natalie Tiong (Singapore Institute of Management) — 13:13.27
12th Lee Xin Ying (Republic Polytechnic) — 13:46.70
13th Choo Jia Hui (Singapore Management University) — 14:01.50
14th Nur Farhana Abdul Gani (Singapore Polytechnic) — 14:22.87
DNF Loo Cassandra Joan (Temasek Polytechnic)
DNS Cheng Pauline Ochura (Singapore Management University)