Photos and story by Stefanus Ian/Red Sports
National Stadium, Thursday, April 12, 2018 — Fatimah Zahra of Victoria Junior College (VJC) ended her eight-year school career in high jump with a big bang, scoring an upset by clearing her personal best jump of 1.56m and breaking Hwa Chong Institution’s Jezebel Koh’s attempt for a fourth consecutive gold medal.
Last year, the 18-year-old, who was also a midfielder and forward for Victoria Junior College’s football team, won bronze with a height of 1.52m.
“It’s really amazing as this is my personal best after stagnating for like four years… even in training, I couldn’t clear 1.50m,” said Zahra,
“Honestly, I am at a loss for words because it’s really a blessing and a miracle.”
Fatimah’s gold medal was even more impressive as she has been stagnating since 2014 due to repeated injuries after winning the gold medal for high jump four years ago in the C Division. Back then, she won with a final jump of 1.55m.
Entering her final A Division competition, the 1.59 metres tall VJC student said she did not have high hopes.
“My aim was 1.50 because I know that this year the competition was really tough so I didn’t expect myself to get top three,” said Fatimah.
“I just expected that everyone will do their best and that everyone will be able to clear every height and just focus on my own individual self, how can I overcome the bar,” she added.
“This is my challenge, it’s me and the bar, it’s me and high jump.”
In an exciting finish to a high quality competition, five jumpers – Fatimah, Jezebel, Lim En Ning, Choun Ray Yi and Tham Mei Shuen – cleared 1.54m, but found the going tough at 1.56m, as they each failed at their first two attempts at this height.
Mei Shuen, Jezebel and En Ning soon registered their third failures. Jezebel, who needed three attempts to clear 1.54m while the other four did so on their first, was consigned to fifth place. Mei Shuen, who had a failure at an earlier height, finished fourth.
En Ning, along with Fatimah and Ray Yi, had a flawless scorecard till 1.56m. She had to wait for the latter two’s final attempts to determine if a winner could be decided, or if a jump-off was necessary to break the three-way tie.
But in her final jump, Fatimah managed to clear the 1.56m mark, which is just three centimetres short of her height, before hugging her father in the stands with tears of joy. Her long-awaited victory was confirmed about a minute later, when Ray Yi missed her final attempt.
“I’m really happy to be able to make my dad proud, he’s never ever not come for any competition and he’s always been there for me and I’m very grateful for him,” said Fatimah.
“My focus was just to enjoy my jumps because I’ve been in high jump for eight years, ending it off with a PB is something that I’m really grateful to God for.”
A Division High Jump results
1st Fatimah Zahra Bte Mohd Rafique (#186, Victoria Junior College) — 1.56m
2nd Lim En Ning (#168, Dunman High School) — 1.54m
2nd Choun Ray Yi (#245, Hwa Chong Institution) — 1.54m
4th Tham Mei Shuen (#268, Hwa Chong Institution) — 1.54m
5th Jezebel Koh Xin Yun (#251, Hwa Chong Institution) — 1.54m
6th Quek Yi Xi, Raelene (#195, Victoria Junior College) — 1.48m
7th Pearlyn Loh Woon Qing (#172, Dunman High School) — 1.46m
8th Yin Yichen (#205, Victoria Junior College) — 1.43m
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