Story by REDintern Fang Yiyang. Photos by Iman Hashim and Stefanus Ian/Red Sports
Kallang Practice Track, Saturday, January 19, 2019 — In a span of three hours, Vanessa Lee of the National University of Singapore (NUS) won both the 800-metre and 5000-metre events at the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Track and Field Championships, adding to her 1500m title from Saturday, January 12.
Vanessa’s timing of 18 minutes and 51.54 seconds — just three seconds short of her personal best of 18:48.38 set at last year’s Inter-Club Championships and breaking her own IVP record of 18:56.04 from last year — came as a surprise even to herself.
Upon crossing the finish line, she wondered aloud whether she was actually supposed to have one more lap to go.
“I wasn’t planning to go for the timing. It was a tactical race and I didn’t feel that the pace was too uncomfortable, so I was surprised by the sub-19 minute timing,” explained Vanessa.
Vanessa’s conservative tactic was due to her having raced the 800m event just hours earlier.
In that race, she broke her personal best — previously 2:29.58 set in February last year at Singapore Athletics Series 2 — with a timing of 2:26.34 to finish the race well ahead of her competitors.
Behind, Vanessa’s teammate Rachel Ho and Charmaine Goh of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) battled for third place, with Rachel pulling ahead eventually to claim silver with a timing of 2:32.00. Charmaine settled for third place with a timing of 2:34.45.
Naturally, when it came to the 5000m, Vanessa played it safe knowing she had already exerted herself earlier.
For most of the race, she trailed Valerie Yong of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), choosing not to take the lead. Only with two laps to go did Vanessa make her move and eventually cross the line as the only competitor under 19 minutes. Valerie finished second with a timing of 19:11.18.
In the fight for third place, Koh Jia Xuan of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Tan Yu Hui of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) were glued together for most of the race. When Yu Hui made a move, Jia Xuan would soon catch up, and it appeared inconclusive who would emerge as the bronze medallist.
With about a kilometre to go, Yu Hui made another bid to break away, and this time Jia Xuan failed to keep up. Yu Hui came in third with a timing of 21:42.16 while Jia Xuan finished behind in 22:09.41.
With her victories in the 800m and 5000m, Vanessa completed a treble of victories at this year’s IVP, having already won the 1500m. Her double gold in one day, however, was not the only interesting feat in the 800m and 5000m events.
Despite not clinching a medal, Jia Xuan’s fourth placing earned five points for ITE in the team standings. Charmaine’s bronze in the 800m gives another six points, adding to the seven points she already scored from her second placing in the 400m the previous week.
Between just the two of them, Jia Xuan and Charmaine scored 18 points for ITE to help the school finish 10th in the female team rankings, out of 12 schools which scored at this year’s IVP.
The last time ITE scored even a point at IVP was in 2016, with six points in the men’s team category and 17 points in the women’s team category.
ITE’s under-representation at IVP is something Charmaine hopes could be worked on in the future.
“I hope that ITE could send more people for IVP to allow them to experience the competition setting and challenge themselves,” said Charmaine.
On her own performance in the 800m, Charmaine expressed satisfaction with her result, which is a new personal best.
She said: “For me, my plan was just to break my personal best of 2:36 set in 2015. Both Vanessa and Rachel really pushed me to reach my goal during the race. I’m very thankful and happy with the result.”
IVP Women’s 800m Results
1st Vanessa Lee (#141, National University of Singapore) — 2:26.34
2nd Rachel Ho (#137, National University of Singapore) — 2:32.00
3rd Charmaine Goh (#1, Institute of Technical Education) — 2:34.45
4th Cheryl Wong (#286, Singapore Institute of Management) — 2:41.72
5th Ng Wei Ting (#210, Ngee Ann Polytechnic) — 2:44.92
6th Gan Kai Lin, Steffi (#248, Republic Polytechnic) — 2:46.48
7th Medallo Calinao (#252, Republic Polytechnic) — 2:52.73
8th Goh Sin Yee (#15, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 2:52.88
IVP Women’s 5000m Results
1st Vanessa Lee (#141, National University of Singapore) — 18:51.54
2nd Valerie Yong (#91, Nanyang Technological University) — 19:11.18
3rd Tan Yu Hui (#215, Ngee Ann Polytechnic) — 21:42.16
4th Koh Jia Xuan (#2, Institute of Technical Education) — 22:09.41
5th Thaaranie, Tammilmani (#304, Singapore Institute of Technology) — 22:53.78
6th Priscilla Mun (#146, National University of Singapore) — 23:01.27
7th Seow Jiaying (#27, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 24:39.19
8th Tan Hui En, Linette (#28, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 26:40.17
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