Story by Iman Hashim/Red Sports. Photos by REDintern Young Tan, Iman Hashim and Stefanus Ian/Red Sports
Kallang Practice Track, Saturday, January 19, 2019 — Timothee Yap and Tan Zong Yang have been teammates since their junior college days in 2011 and 2012, back when they represented Hwa Chong Institution.
But while Timothee was dabbling in the hurdles events back then, the 2016 Rio Olympian is now a fully-fledged sprinter sparring day in, day out with training mate Zong Yang, who now specialises in the 400 metres.
The pair, both final-year law undergraduates at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Management University (SMU) respectively, are currently training together under the tutelage of Luis Cunha.
And the results look promising, as both sprinted to a tight 1-2 finish in the 200m final at the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Track and Field Championships, with Timothee edging Zong Yang by 0.04 seconds.
Timothee’s 21.65s timing falls short of his 21.59s personal best clocked at the 2018 Malaysia Open, but it helped Zong Yang meet the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games qualifying mark with 21.69s.
Said Timothee, who was nursing a niggling injury prior to the race: “Actually I just wanted to help Zong Yang to qualify for the World Uni Games. So I didn’t intend to… I just wanted to play it safe and not finish the race.”
“But then I came out of the curve quite ahead, then I decided to just finish the race,” he continued, laughing.
Zong Yang is now 0.07s away from qualifying for the World University Games (WUG), which is to be held in Naples, Italy, this July.
However, Zong Yang — who improved on his 200m personal best by 0.21s — still has his eye on the 400m event, which he said he will attempt again at the Singapore Athletics Series 2 meet and subsequently.
On trying to hit the WUG 400m qualifying mark of 48.08s, he said: “Now with my base speed in the 100m and 200m, I think it’s quite possible. I’ll just train hard, I mean it’s the last year (of university) already.”
Earlier in the women’s 200m final, Clara Goh of Temasek Polytechnic (TP) claimed her first ever IVP gold with a time of 26.09s, bettering her previous best of 26.27s set when she won bronze at last year’s edition.
“I felt that it was my best performance this season and I was really happy that I managed to beat my PB,” said Clara, whose only other individual gold medal at an inter-school meet came in the same event at the 2017 POL-ITE Championships.
“I wasn’t thinking much about the winning, more of running a PB.”
Clara finished a good 1.36 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor in the final, as Rebecca Tay of Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Darshini Kuppusamy of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) finished in 27.47s and 27.92s respectively to complete the podium.
Clara, who clinched silver in the 100m last week with a new personal best as well, attributes her improvement to her two coaches.
She said: “Currently I’m training under two coaches. During TP relay training, coach Hamkah (Afik) has been a great trainer. But the bulk of my development was under coach Margaret (Oh) — her patient and careful guidance plus her constant pushing during my training has most probably been the reason for my rapid improvement.”
Later in the afternoon, she ran the third and second leg for TP in the 4x100m and 4x400m relay finals respectively, clinching another gold and silver alongside teammates Alanis Moey, Haanee Hamkah and Andreana Tang for the former and Tor Jia Wen, Alanis and Andreana in the latter.
In the day’s opening events, Celeste Goh of NUS and Calvin Quek of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) conquered the 400m hurdles in dominating fashion, finishing in 1:08.27 and 56.52s in the women’s and men’s timed finals respectively.
Celeste, who was also champion in the flat 400m, stopped the clock more than six seconds ahead of her nearest rivals, NP’s Joanna Seet and NUS teammate Kathleen Lin, while Calvin was at least three seconds faster than the other podium finishers, TP’s Hafizul Hakim and NYP’s Isaac Toh.
However, both finals were marred by a technical mishap as race officials had allegedly placed the eighth hurdle in each lane on the wrong mark.
Men’s 200m Final
1st Timothee Yap (#194, National University of Singapore) — 21.65 seconds
2nd Tan Zong Yang (#340, Singapore Management University) — 21.69
3rd Dexter Lin Tim Weng (#444, Temasek Polytechnic) — 22.48
4th Shawn Lee (#293, Singapore Institute of Management) — 22.63
5th Nick Neo Pei Siang (#56, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 22.64
6th Raymond Scott Lee (#175, National University of Singapore) — 22.76
7th Jeremy Koh (#225, Ngee Ann Polytechnic) — 23.76
Women’s 200m Final
1st Clara Goh Si Hui (#421, Temasek Polytechnic) — 26.09 seconds
2nd Rebecca Tay Kai En (#29, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 27.47
3rd Darshini Kuppusamy (#205, Ngee Ann Polytechnic) — 27.92
4th Cindy Enn (#12, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 28.10
5th Angel Ho En Qi (#249, Republic Polytechnic) — 28.96
6th Celine Goe (#346, Singapore Polytechnic) — 29.06
7th Karine Leo (#142, National University of Singapore) — 29.37
8th Lin Shiwen (#144, National University of Singapore) — 30.02
Men’s 400m Hurdles Timed Finals
1st Calvin Quek (#118, Nanyang Technological University) — 56.52 seconds
2nd Hafizul Hakim Bin Misnal (#435, Temasek Polytechnic) — 59.71
3rd Isaac Toh Beam (#67, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 59.75
4th Silas Ng Wei Hao (#57, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 1:00.96
5th Ziron Low (#179, National University of Singapore) — 1:04.14
6th Koo Kai Siang (#108, Nanyang Technological University) — 1:05.47
7th Lukas Tan (#394, Singapore Polytechnic) — 1:11.51
8th Ervin Teo (#242, Ngee Ann Polytechnic) — 1:16.18
Women’s 400m Hurdles Timed Finals
1st Celeste Goh (#136, National University of Singapore) — 1:08.27
2nd Joanna Seet (#212, Ngee Ann Polytechnic) — 1:14.47
3rd Kathleen Lin (#143, National University of Singapore) — 1:16.70
4th Kang Pei Ling (#278, Singapore Institute of Management) — 1:17.74
5th Carissa Wong (#323, Singapore Management University) — 1:19.25
6th Caris Lau (#206, Ngee Ann Polytechnic) — 1:20.98
7th Grace Ng (#81, Nanyang Technological University) — 1:21.23
8th Sim Jia Ying (#400, Singapore University of Social Sciences) — 1:23.24
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