Story by REDintern Alyssa Almas. Photos by REDintern Jared Khoo and Iman Hashim/Red Sports.

Left to right: Chua Hsi-Ern Caylee of ACJC and Clarice Lau Jia Yun of HCI. The two girls started the 3000m A Division Girls' final almost side-by-side.

Caylee Chua (left) of ACJC and Clarice Lau of HCI starting the 3000m A Division Girls’ final almost side-by-side. Clarice eventually won gold in 11:45.74 while Caylee settled for silver in 12:02.20. (Photo 1 © REDintern Jared Khoo)

Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Friday, March 15, 2019 — Hwa Chong Institution’s (HCI) Clarice Lau blazed past her competitors in the final lap to take the A Division girls’ 3000-metres title 17 seconds ahead of Anglo-Chinese Junior College’s Caylee Chua at the 60th National Schools Track and Field Championships.

Clarice finished the race in a timing of 11 minutes and 45.74 seconds, ahead of Caylee who stopped the clock at 12:02.20.

Clarice’s winning time still falls short of her personal best of 11:37.58, set in the B Division final in 2017 when she was representing Nan Hua High School.

After her win, Clarice was all smiles, and shared what motivated her to go for gold: “It’s my last year competing in the A Division, and I wanted to do my best so that I would not have any regrets after finishing season this year.”

The race was a close fight between Clarice and Caylee from the get-go, both girls fighting to overtake each other. They were evenly matched for the first five rounds, neither seemingly ready to concede defeat just yet.

Despite her best efforts, the heat soon got to ACJC’s Caylee, who started to slow down, leaving Clarice to pull away with two rounds to go.

When asked about the loss of the lead she held, Caylee shared: “I think I gave it my all today — I could have done a bit better, and I should have stuck with being in first (position). However, it was really hot today, and I think it affected me.”

Despite her setback, Caylee was determined to hold on to her silver.

“When I saw that (Clarice) had overtaken me, my next thought was not to lose my position to the next Hwa Chong runner,” Caylee said.

In the last lap, Clarice gave it her all and started sprinting at the sound of the bell. The second-year junior college student soon pulled a 150-metre lead ahead of Caylee to clinch the gold, collapsing on the ground as soon as she crossed the finish line.

Similarly, after crossing the finish line, Caylee fell to the ground as well, fatigue from the race setting in.

“I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get the gold in the end, but I’m feeling unwell today, and the weather did not help as I felt that I couldn’t push myself to do my best,” explained Caylee.

Speaking about her ACJC competitor, Clarice quipped: “To be honest, I knew (Caylee) was quite a strong runner, but I just wanted to hold on to my lead. I trained very hard throughout the year, so I knew that I had a good chance. I just wanted to give my best shot and cross the line without any regrets.”

Though happy to have at least won a medal, Caylee was disappointed with her performance, saying: “I met my expectations for today until the second last round — the last round was actually okay, but the second last round, it was too slow.”

“It was very hard. (Clarice) definitely gave me a good race today,” said Caylee, reflecting on the race. “I was surprised at how she was going so fast for so many rounds. I thought she was going to die (sic) but she didn’t. It was a good fight today.”

With one last event to go at the National Schools Track and Field Championships, Clarice looks to claim another gold in the A Division Girls’ 2000m Steeplechase on the 25th of March.

A Division Girls’ 3000m Results
1st Clarice Lau Jia Yun (Hwa Chong Institution, #504) — 11:45.74
2nd Caylee Chua Hsi- Ern (Anglo- Chinese Junior College, #472) — 12:02.20
3rd Jolene Tan Yong Xin (Hwa Chong Institution, #510) — 12:20.11
4th Lim Zhi Xuan (Raffles Institution, #403) — 12:27.33
5th Chew Hui Jun (Tampines Meridian Junior College, #444) — 12:41.54
6th Charlene Lim Siow Ching (Hwa Chong Institution, #501) — 12:41.58
7th Lim Xin Hui (Raffles Institution, #402) — 12:44.73
8th Meagan Goh Yijing (Eunoia Junior College, #313) — 12:48.64

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