Story by REDintern Fang Yiyang. Photos by Iman Hashim/Red Sports
Kallang Practice Track, Saturday, January 19 2019 — By winning the 3000-metre steeplechase event, Nabin Parajuli of the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) completed a hat-trick of golds at this year’s Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Track and Field Championships, replicating a feat he had previously accomplished in 2014.
Moving into the lead right from the start, Nabin easily opened a gap of 10 to 15 metres on the rest of the field within the first lap. Only Karthic Harish Ragupathy of the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) attempted to follow, shadowing Nabin for the first few laps of the race.
“I just wanted to tag along with Nabin, because I thought it could help me get a good time. It was going well for the first three to four laps, but after that I could not keep up,” explained Karthic.
Karthic has a personal best of 9 minutes and 57.95 seconds, achieved at the 2012 Singapore Athletics Series 3 meet.
Nabin, however, was unworried of Karthic’s presence.
“Karthic’s a good competitor, definitely, but I knew my capabilities so I wasn’t very concerned and just focused on running my race,” said Nabin.
By the fourth lap, Karthic was dropping back and Nabin’s lead grew and he would finish well ahead of the field with a timing of 9:44.04. This makes Nabin the owner of the two fastest 3000m steeplechase timings in the history of the IVP championships.
Nabin himself had set the championship record — also his personal best — of 9:37.65 last year, erasing the previous record of 9:45.26 set in 2013.
For Karthic, the rest of the race was just a matter of hanging on and preserving his position, which he did by clocking a timing of 10:18.99, still a comfortable margin ahead of the rest of the field.
However, he was still hoping to do better.
“I have not been training for this event, so I’m not used to the barriers. I signed up for fun actually, as I hoped to win a medal for my school before I graduate,” said Karthic.
Prior to the race, Karthic’s most recent attempt at the steeplechase was in 2013, when he won the National Schools Track and Field Championships A Division boys’ race with a timing of 10:16.49.
However, rather than being dismayed by the result, Karthic preferred to see it as a blessing in disguise.
“It was still an enlightening experience, even though I fell short of my expectations. But it gives me more motivation to continue training. Maybe if I had done well I would just give up, since it’s my final year in university. Initially my plan was to just wrap up after IVP, but now I’m hungry for more,” said Karthic.
Nabin, too, is in his final year of university. His win in the steeplechase makes it three golds out of three races at this year’s IVP, having already won the 5000m and 10,000m.
It is a feat he had achieved in 2014 as a student at Nanyang Polytechnic. Since then, he has achieved a string of steeplechase victories, winning the event at IVP in 2014, 2015, 2018 and now 2019, missing the 2016 and 2017 editions only due to his National Service.
While Nabin’s three wins contributed to SIM’s joint fifth place with Singapore Management University in the men’s team category, the results of the women’s steeplechase race, an exhibition event, had no impact on the team rankings as no points were counted towards it.
Lok Xin Ying of the National University of Singapore (NUS) finished the race well ahead of her competitors, clocking a timing of 13:09.91. This breaks her own championship record of 13:14.26, set during last year’s IVP.
“I was not planning to break the record though; I was just hoping to run a good race and I’m glad to have run this timing,” said Xin Ying.
Xin Ying’s NUS teammate, Isabella Cheong, made it a 1-2 for NUS by finishing second in 14:12.70.
Xin Ying also expressed hope that one day the steeplechase event would be promoted to a championship race.
“My teammate Isabella and I have been hoping it would be a proper championship event. It has been an exhibition event since I was in Year 1,” the third-year NUS undergraduate said.
One can see why the steeplechase could be intimidating and unpopular, yet at the same time appealing for those up for a challenge — in Nabin’s words: “the steeplechase requires a good mix of skill, agility, speed, endurance and mental strength. It is this versatility demanded of you that makes this event stand out.”
IVP Men 3000m steeplechase results
1st Nabin Parajuli (#297, Singapore Institute of Management) — 9:44.04
2nd Karthic Harish Ragupathy (#415, 24 Singapore University of Technology and Design) — 10:18.99
3rd Kenny Chua (#369, Singapore Polytechnic) — 10:50.35
4th Samuel Wong (#193) (National University of Singapore) — 10:52.98
5th Jonathan Qhek (#185, National University of Singapore) — 11:04.46
6th August Lim (#381, Singapore Polytechnic) — 11:22.07
7th Lim Xuan Zheng, Jaeger (#53, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 11:41.53
8th Chung, Yu Hin (#325, Singapore Management University) — 11:47.94
IVP Women 3000m steeplechase results
1st Lok Xin Ying (#145, National University of Singapore) — 13:09.91 (New CR)
2nd Isabella Cheong (#131, National University of Singapore) — 14:12.70
3rd Wu Yu Han (#89, Nanyang Technological University) — 14:55.03
4th Low Ee Min (#22 Nanyang Polytechnic) — 16:07.96
5th Liew Zhi Shan (#250, Republic Polytechnic) — 16:20.82
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