Story by REDintern Jessica Soo. Photos by Stefanus Ian/Red Sports.
Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Monday, March 11, 2019 — Nerves did not stop Cedar Girls’ Claudia Tang from dominating the lead and placing the seal on the B Division girls’ 1500 metres title at the 60th National Schools Track and Field Championships.
Claudia stopped the clock at 5 minutes and 9.98 seconds, falling short of her personal best by six seconds. Nevertheless, the timing boosted her ahead of her competitors Enastasia Koh of Dunman High School and defending champion Kylie Tan of Cedar Girls’.
The girls finished with timings of 05:13.45 and 05:16.12 respectively.
Claudia took the lead right from the gun, something that she did not plan to do beforehand. She was followed closely behind by Kylie and Naomi Ng of Raffles Girls’ in the first lap.
“I didn’t expect to take the lead, so I was quite scared,” Claudia described. “I was afraid that I would get tired.”
However, during the second last lap, the dynamics of the race changed as Enastasia started to move with greater speed, overtaking Naomi and sticking close to Kylie. Claudia maintained a clear lead, streaking across the track even till the last 100m.
The 15-year-old student broke past the threshold of her abilities to overcome any ounce of fatigue, and gave her best before stopping the clock in top running form.
During this time, Enastasia picked up her speed, surpassing Kylie and finishing in close proximity.
Much like the victor, the silver medalist held the same sentiments of surprise of going beyond her expectations when she finished second.
“I am actually pretty shocked, as it is my first time running this event for Nationals,” Enastasia explained. “Previously I was in 400m and 800m, but now I am in the 800m and 1500m events.”
The student further added that her sprints coach, Elwin Yong, played the crucial supporting role in her achievement during the 1500m race.
“I’m not too sure why (I switched),” Enastasia said. “I guess it was for exposure and my coach saw that I had the potential to try out a new event. He was very supportive of me and actually tried his best to adapt to my training program even though it was a bit tough for him as he is a sprints coach.”
The decision proved to be worthwhile as Enastasia’s performance exceeded every expectation that she had.
She continued: “When I was running this race, I was just focusing on my running form, and didn’t look at the clock. What really pushed me on during the last lap was my coach.”
“I heard him in the last round,” she revealed. “I heard him cheering me on.”
The girls hope to achieve another performance worthy of celebration at the up-and-coming National Schools Cross Country Championships, which is slated for April 10.
Having won the under-17 girls’ race at last month’s Wings Cross Country Championships, Claudia looks to be the favourite come next month.
B Division Girls’ 1500m Results
1st Claudia Tang Ning Xuan (Cedar Girls’ Secondary, #904) — 05:09.98
2nd Enastasia Koh Ye (Dunman High School, #934) — 05:13.45
3rd Kylie Tan (Cedar Girls’ Secondary, #902) — 05:16.12
4th Naomi Ng Hui (Raffles Girls’ School, #855) — 05:20.80
5th Alyssa Yeong Xin Yi (North Vista Secondary School, #707) — 05:24.31
6th Alexis So Hui Jun (CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School, #657) — 05:27.54
7th Felis Tan Le Yao (CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh), #794) — 05:29.44
8th Julia Chiang Li Fen (Cedar Girls’ Secondary, #872) — 05:30.10
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