Story by Colin Tung/Red Sports. Photos by REDintern Lee Jian Wei and Leslie Tan/Red Sports

NUS IHG Road Relay

Natasha Yokoyama of Eusoff Hall races to the finish line while friends and teammates cheer her towards victory in the women’s race. (Photo 1 © REDintern Lee Jian Wei)

National University of Singapore (NUS), Tuesday, January 13, 2015 — The road relay girls of Eusoff Hall caused an upset when they beat favourites and defending champions Kent Ridge Hall by 11 seconds at the NUS Inter-Hall Games (IHG).

While the men’s race saw Kent Ridge turn the tables on Eusoff to defend their men’s title, Kent Ridge lost the chance to underline their road relay supremacy with a second straight double.

The girls’ race kicked off proceedings just after sunset at the carpark of Raffles Hall, with King Edward VII’s Yining the first to return from the 1.8-kilometre course, as five more girls from each team awaited their turns to run.

Eusoff’s lead-off runner, Alissa Lim, returned 11 seconds behind in third place. Kent Ridge, however, left themselves with an uphill task as Debbie Ho returned last, a minute after Alissa.

Eusoff, through Tiong Jia En, took the lead by the end of the second leg. Though they lost it to Temasek in the third leg, Eusoff recaptured the lead in the fourth leg.

They maintained that lead in the fifth and sixth legs to hold out for a surprise win.

Natasha Yokoyama, the Eusoff girls’ team captain and also their anchor runner, said, “I’m honestly more than ecstatic. I just couldn’t believe the win. After I crossed the finishing line, I just blanked out. I was so tired I couldn’t feel my body and I couldn’t believe we won.

“Even as I was running, I tried my best to not think that we are leading. Just ran the best I could until I couldn’t breathe and I was just gasping for air and all I could think about was, ‘I’m doing this for Eusoff.'”

The second-year political science undergraduate explained her surprise with the victory, “I know her (Janell Tan, captain of the opposing Kent Ridge girls’ team and a friend of Natasha’s) standard and I know that there are girls running faster than her (on the same team). I looked at my runners, looked at their runners, (and) I knew they were stronger, but I didn’t want my runners to know that I was honestly a bit scared of them.”

Natasha had cause for concern. Stalking her during that final leg was Kent Ridge’s Janielle Lim, who only last Saturday finished second in the 800m race at the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Championships. Janielle will also be competing in the IVP 1,500m race this Saturday. She ran the fastest time of any girl on the night.

Janielle, who was having her first taste of IHG as a freshman business undergraduate, said, “I was aiming for the win but I couldn’t see the girl (Natasha) along the way at all until the last stretch … (but) it was too late. A bit disappointed but it was a fun race.”

In the men’s race, Banjamin Quek anchored Kent Ridge to a second consecutive men’s road relay title. After stealing the lead from Raffles in the second leg, Kent Ridge pulled away and won comfortably by almost a minute and a half.

“Even though the lead was big, there is an obligation for me to run my best all the time. The first year, my teammates managed to give me a very big lead so I feel safe running. But, this year, all the halls became better so it’s good,” said Banjamin, who was also part of the title-winning team last year as the anchor runner.

NUS IHG Road Relay (Men's)

Kent RidgeMarcus Tan (6:02)Jared Goh (5:50)Joseph Gan (6:10)Ivan Low (5:55)Fabian Ng (5:53)Banjamin Quek (5:44)35:37
EusoffHo Zheng Yang (6:06)Ng You Hao (6:06)Josiah Hong (6:15)Ong Zhi Hao (6:14)Lee Jun Yi (6:17)Lee Jian Ler (6:05)37:03
RafflesTakura Ihari (5:49)Tay Chen Teck (6:27)Koh Zhi Ye (6:27)Derek Tan (6:14)Tan Yoong Aun (7:08)Soh Hua Qun (5:27)37:32
TemasekLoh Jiang Han (6:17)Casper Ng (6:30)Muhammad Afi (6:26)Hau Zhongyuan (6:24)Jonathan Tan (6:05)Ng Si Hao (6:03)37:45
King Edward VIIJerrard Williams (6:52)Lee Jia Jin (6:54)Matthew Yap (7:00)Tommy Kee (7:02)Philbert Ong (6:52)Chew Liang Yun (6:54)41:04
ShearesJason Chu (6:11)Nicholas Chan (6:54)John Tay (6:39)Edward Harsono (7:16)Chiang Hai Wei (7:01)Chua Chang Rong (7:08)41:41

NUS IHG Road Relay (Women's)

EusoffAlissa Lim (7:47)Tiong Jia En (7:44)Chua Rou Hui (9:07)Rochelle Chan (7:26)Rachel Ho (7:41)Natasha Yokoyama (7:35)47:22
Kent RidgeDebbie Ho (8:48)Koh Qi Ying (7:27)Chua Vi Chien (8:30)Janell Tan (7:54)Seow Yun Yun (7:39)Janielle Lim (7:11)47:33
TemasekTan Shi Yin (7:45)Tan Yen Yi (8:13)Jaime Hong (8:04)Yang Chenhui (8:45)Lim Hui Tien (7:34)Trini Tan (7:33)47:54
King Edward VIIYining (7:36)Annabel (8:33)Zest (8:28)Joelance (7:45)Yan Ling (8:02) Ethanyn (7:28)48:03
ShearesJolene Quek (8:14) Guo Jun Ting (9:16)Blossom Tan (8:15)Chan Li Shing (8:23)Victoria Neoh (8:58)Nguyen Thu Nga (8:02)51:17
RafflesLim Cheng Ling (7:57)Chiang Ling Ling (8:54)Lim Jye Ting (9:09)Gillian Chan (8:59)Wu Yan (7:55)Tan Chun Hui (8:51)52:45

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