Story and photos by Lim Yong Teck/Red Sports
National Stadium, Thursday, April 12, 2018 — There is something surreal about the friendship between Nanyang Girls’ High School’s Bernice Liew and Elizabeth Ann-Tan. Individually, the Secondary 3 students are brilliant. Together, they reign supreme on the track.
But when the duo are pitted against each other, the results go back and forth.
Today, at the B Division girls’ 100 metre final at the National School Track and Field Championships, the spotlight turned to Bernice. She stopped the clock at 12.37 seconds, winning the gold and bettering Singapore Sports School alumna Eugenia Tan’s 2012 record by 0.02 seconds. Elizabeth followed closely behind to clinch silver in 12.40s, a new personal best.
Bernice and Elizabeth have known each other since Primary 4, when they were competing for Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary and CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ Primary. Now as Nanyang buddies, they push each other to succeed on the track.
There is only one gold medal, but yet, there is hardly any beef. While a potentially larger rivalry looms, the obvious bond between the two quells any negative feelings.
The pair also combined to win gold for Nanyang Girls’ in their division’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays. After each race, the girls never fail to find each other for a hug, smiling and engaging in joyful banter as they walk off.
“We’re very, very good friends both on and off the track, and whenever we compete, we never let the results affect our friendship,” said Bernice. “Even if she wins, I won’t be angry.”
“It’s the same for me too. I won’t get angry and I’m always happy for her.”
At the young age of 15, their collective results have set the stage for higher expectations, comparable to reigning sprint queen Shanti Pereira. In last year’s C Division final, Elizabeth, then 14, ran 12.41s to win gold, a result better than 14-year-old Shanti’s 12.68s. Bernice’s 12.37s run this year is also better than 15-year-old Shanti’s best of 12.39s.
“They are really rare talents and for them to be in the same school, it’s fortunate,” said Tan Yew Leng, former national runner and also the long distance coach in the Nanyang Girls’ athletics team.
“It’s almost like having a sparring partner at every single session. They can train together and better each other and that’s important to move them up to another level.”
Both girls’ contributions on the overall standings were significant, paving the way for Nanyang Girls’ to win their first division title since 1999.
In the A Division girls’ 100m final, Singapore Sports School’s Ismi Zakiah clocked 12.35s to win gold. She bettered the previous electronically-timed record of 12.37s, set by Anglo-Chinese Junior College alumna Tan Shieh Li. The C Division girls’ 100m crown went to Nanyang Girls’ Jade Chew in 12.86s.
A Division Girls’ 100m Results
1st: Ismi Zakiah Bte Kashful Anwar (#34, Singapore Sports School) – 12.35
2nd: Tanisha Moghe (#132, Raffles Institution) – 12.56
3rd: Camille Alix Damas [#57, Anglo-Chinese School (International)] – 12.91
4th: Portia Tan (#236, Anglo-Chinese Junior College) – 13.16
5th: Regine Ng (#264, Hwa Chong Institution) – 13.20
6th: Kaitlyn Hong (#254, Hwa Chong Institution) – 13.27
7th: Clarissa Lim (#92, National Junior College) – 13.54
8th: Nurfarisma Uraima Bte Widi Herman (#94, National Junior College) – 13.63
B Division Girls’ 100m Results
1st: Bernice Liew (#421, Nanyang Girls’ High) – 12.37
2nd: Elizabeth-Ann Tan (#430, Nanyang Girls’ High) – 12.40
3rd: Choo Hui Xin (#250, Cedar Girls’ Secondary) – 12.94
4th: Nurul Insyirah (#95, Singapore Sports School) – 13.03
5th: Erza Irdina Bte Abdul Latiff (#90, Singapore Sports School) – 13.15
6th: Gwendolyn Therese Lim (#283, CHIJ Katong Convent) – 13.20
7th: Wickramanayake Maheesha (#291, CHIJ Katong Convent) – 13.83
8th: Raine Oh (#99, Singapore Sports School) – 16.09
C Division Girls’ 100m Results
1st: Jade Chew (#386, Nanyang Girls’ High) – 12.86
2nd: Samantha Theresa Ortega (#87, Singapore Sports School) – 13.04
3rd: Thaarani D/O Sivakumar (#91, Singapore Sports School) – 13.10
4th: Jovyn Lim (#201, Raffles Girls’ School) – 13.20
5th: Eleana Goh (#393, Nanyang Girls’ High) – 13.27
6th: Skylar Gen Johnson (#401, Nanyang Girls’ High) – 13.33
7th: Kate Lai (#199, Raffles Girls’ School) – 13.49
8th: Jermaine Tan [#125, CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh)] – 13.53
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