Zubin Muncherji broke a 40-year-old Singapore national record when he ran the 400m in 47.29s at the 16th Asian Junior Championships in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo courtesy of SAA)

Zubin Muncherji broke a 40-year-old Singapore national record when he ran the 400m in 47.29s at the 16th Asian Junior Championships in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo courtesy of SAA)

Taipei, Taiwan, June 12-15, 2014 — Three Singapore national senior records were broken, another two junior marks were rewritten and one silver medal won – their first ever – in a highly-successful outing by the 12-strong contingent at the 16th Asian Junior Athletics Championships.

Zubin Muncherji, who turns 18 on June 23rd, broke the men’s 400 metres record of 47.4 seconds which was set by Godfrey Jalleh in June 1974, and equaled by Haron Mundir 15 years later. The Anglo-Chinese Junior College student ran a time of 47.29s in the heats to better the long-standing hand-timed mark, as well as Kenneth Khoo’s electronically-timed best of 47.59s.

It also rewrote Ng Chin Hui’s national junior, under-23 and under-19 records of 47.92s set in April 2012. Zubin’s previous personal best (PB) of 48.69s was bested by an extremely-significant margin of 1.4s.

Zubin’s record-breaking feat qualified him for the final, where he finished fifth in 47.74s.

Shanti Pereira, who came in fourth in both the 100m and 200m at last year’s South-east Asian Games, finished on the podium this time, clocking lifetime bests in both events to boot.

Shanti ran a time of 23.99s in the 200m final into a headwind of 0.3 metres per second to win the silver medal, erasing her national senior, junior, under-23 and under-19 records of 24.12s set at the SEA Games. Shanti, who finished third in the last edition of this meet two years ago, had clocked the same time in the heats, but that was with the assistance of a 2.8m/s tailwind. The allowable limit for record-setting purposes is 2.0m/s.

This is Singapore’s first ever silver medal won in the history of the championships.

Shanti also picked up a bronze in the 100m. The 17-year-old Republic Polytechnic student clocked 12.00s and 11.95s in the heats and semi-finals respectively, and then ran a 11.79s in the final. However, her national senior, junior, under-23 and under-19 marks of 11.89s remain in the books, as the tailwind in the final was 3.0m/s.

Singapore’s other medal was won by Jannah Wong, who carried on her breathtaking recent run of form when she broke Dipna Lim-Prasad’s women’s 100m hurdles mark of 14.23s. The former had a PB of 15.10s before April’s National Inter-School meet, where she ran a time of 14.69s to break Dipna’s national junior mark of 14.72s.

In Taipei, Jannah improved the mark to 14.43s in the heats, before rewriting Dipna’s three-year-old senior record with her time of 14.14s into a headwind of 0.2 metres per second.

Jannah’s efforts earned her a bronze medal, and represented a personal improvement of nearly a full second in a space of two months.

Zubin, Shanti and Jannah met the respective qualifying marks for July’s IAAF World Junior Championships.

The latter two runners also contributed to another new record in the women’s 4x100m relay, where the quartet of Jannah, Kugapriya d/o Chandran, Eugenia Tan and Shanti finished fifth in a time of 46.78s. It shattered the national junior mark of 47.58s, set by Lee Yan Lin, Ann Siao Mei, Amanda Choo and Wong Zeteng eight years ago.

It was also just a tenth of a second off the senior mark set by the same quartet at the 24th SEA Games in December 2007.

Carmel Teo improved her national junior, under-23 and under-19 records by a whopping 13 centimetres when she cleared a height of 3.45m in the women’s pole vault. The Jurong Junior College student, who was hampered by injury last year, cleared the record-setting height on her second attempt, before bowing out with three failures at 3.60m.

All new records are subject to ratification by the Singapore Athletic Association.

Muhd Naqib Bin Asmin continued his scintillating run of form with two outstanding PBs in the men’s 100m and 200m, both which made similar impact on his progression throughout the year and in the all-time rankings.

The 19-year-old Republic Polytechnic student ran a time of 10.57s (wind speed +2.0m/s) in the 100m heats to improve his PB by a full tenth of a second. It marked his fourth PB in this event since the turn of the year, and the 4x100m relay alternate at last year’s SEA Games would surely have given the national relay coach food for thought over the selection and configuration of the relay team with his marked improvement.

Naqib’s 10.57s-run makes him the eighth fastest local sprinter of all time, behind U.K. Shyam (10.37s), C Kunalan (10.38s), Mohd Hosni (10.41s), Gary Yeo (10.44s), Muhd Amirudin (10.46s), Calvin Kang (10.52s) and Muhd Elfi (10.56s). It also cemented his position as the fastest local this year. Gary and Calvin are tied for second in 10.68s.

Naqib also ran his fourth PB in the 200m this year when he clocked 21.53s (+1.8 m/s) in the heats. It improved on his 21.78s-run at the Thailand Open in May, and also placed him eighth in the local all-time 200m rankings. Only Haron Mundir (21.14s), Hamkah Afik (21.20s), C Kunalan (21.28s), Shafiq Kashmiri (21.45s), Timothy Yeo (21.47s), Mohd Shameer (21.50s) and Kenneth Khoo (21.51s) are ahead of him.

Similarly, he is the fastest Singaporean in this event this year, with Calvin (21.92s) and Gary (21.93s) in second and third respectively.

Zubin rose to fourth in the rankings and came close to joining the sub-22s club in the 200m when he ran a PB of 22.03s in the heats.

Ng Jia Yi set a new personal best in the women’s 400m hurdles. She finished seventh in the final with a time of 66.03s, improving on her 66.45s PB set in March 2014.

Eight of the 12 Singapore athletes ended the meet with either a medal, a new record or a personal best.

Singapore team at the 16th Asian Junior Athletics Championships

NameGenderAgeEventTypeResultPlacingRemarksPB2014 best
Chan Sheng YaoMale18Pole VaultFinal4.65m10th4.91m4.91m
Muhd Naqib Bin AsminMale19100mHeats10.57s7thPB; wind speed 2.0m/s10.67s10.67s
200mHeats21.53s8thPB; 1.8m/s21.78s21.78s
Bennett YongMale17Pole VaultFinalNHNo height4.43m4.43m
Zubin MuncherjiMale17200mHeats22.03s12thPB; 1.0m/s22,19s22.19s
400mHeats47.29s2ndNational, U23, Junior, U19 record48.69s48.69s
Chang An ZiFemale16Pole VaultFinalNHNo height3.13m3.13m
Kugapriya d/o ChandranFemale16200mHeats25.62s18th1.9m/s25.51s25.51s
4x100m relay (2)Final5thJunior record
Kerstin OngFemale17100m hurdlesHeats15.39s10th-0.7m/s14.99s14.99s
Ng Jia YiFemale15400m hurdlesHeats66.03s7thPB66.45s66.45s
Eugenia TanFemale184x100m relay (3)Final5thJunior record
Carmel TeoFemale17Pole VaultFinal3.45m7thU23, Junior, U19 record3.32m3.18m
Shanti PereiraFemale17100mHeats12.00s2nd-1.7m/s11.89s11.91s
200mFinal23.99sSilverNational, U23, Junior, U19 rec; -0.3m/s24.12s24.77s
4x100m relay (4)FinalJunior record
Jannah WongFemale17100m hurdlesHeats14.43s3rdJunior record; 0.6m/s14.69s14.69s
100m hurdlesFinal14.14sBronzeNational, U23, Junior, U19 rec; -0.2m/s14.43s14.43s
4x100m relay (1)FinalJunior record
TeamFemale4x100m relayFinal46.78s5thJunior record47.58s

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