Story and photos by Iman Hashim/Red Sports. Additional photos by REDintern Julianna Jothi.
Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Thursday, March 14, 2019 — Jade Chew readied her stance, her eyes intently trained on the 1.65-metre-high bar ahead of her. She knew this was her chance of entering the record books again, by cracking Michelle Sng’s B Division girls’ mark of 1.64m set in 2003 — before she was even born.
Earlier, Jade had passed on her first attempt without a jump after the stipulated time ran out, and fractionally brushed the bar off on her second try.
“I actually couldn’t sleep last night because I was really excited about today’s competition,” said the Nanyang Girls’ High School Secondary 3 student. “I’ve been wanting to break the record since the start of the year, so like I think that was something I’ve been working towards a lot, but I wasn’t very sure either, so yeah, I just wanted to come and try.”
Alas, with ‘high jump mama’ and national record holder Michelle Sng watching from the sidelines, Jade’s lower body sent the bar crashing again with the slightest of touches, as her face grimaced.
“Yes definitely,” Jade responded when asked if she had any regrets of not rewriting the record. “But I still have one more year in B Div, so I hope that next year I can come back and do it.”
Jade still has reason to cheer, nevertheless, after attaining a new personal best of 1.62m. It improves on the 1.61m C Division girls’ record she had set last year.
“I’m very grateful to get a PB, because at the start of the year I was having a lot of problems, like actually attempting the height as you could see just now,” she added. “So with all my teammates’ help and my coach’s help, I’m thankful that I was able to overcome my fear of the bar.”
Jade was head and shoulders above her competition — she could afford to sit out the initial stages to conserve energy, and only attempted her first height when the field was whittled down to its final five competitors.
She breezed over 1.50m on her first attempt, as defending champion and NYGH teammate Hu Tianqi crashed out of the competition to settle for fifth place.
At 1.52m, Jade’s victory was already secured after once again taking only one try to clear the bar — while Rena Edward of CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School, Chin Rae Ning of St. Joseph’s Institution (International) and Kirsten Anne Tay of Cedar Girls’ Secondary were all unsuccessful after three jumps apiece.
Rena, Rae Ning and Kirsten placed second, third and fourth on countback, after they took one, two and three tries respectively to clear 1.50m.
With gold in the bag, Jade proceeded to clear 1.57m before executing her personal best 1.62m effort.
“Honestly, I was doubting whether I could do it,” she said. “But then, at the last moment I was like, okay, this is my last (try), so just stomp and go up.”
Her doubts were justified, knocking over the 1.62m-high bar on her first two tries and only succeeding on her last.
“When I was in the air I could feel my leg brush (the bar), so I thought I didn’t clear it at first,” said Jade. “(But after realising I cleared it) I couldn’t breathe because I was very excited. I didn’t think I would be able to do it, since I was also quite tired.”
Jade, also the reigning C Division girls’ 100m champion, will now look ahead to her first B Division century sprint final, after qualifying joint-third fastest from the semi-finals behind NYGH seniors Elizabeth-Ann Tan and Bernice Liew.
“I hope I can just help to support my two teammates in front of me, and hopefully try to do our best and stand together on the podium in Nanyang’s colours,” Jade said, adding that she is also hopeful to break the B girls’ 4x100m relay record along with her teammates. She will be running the second leg.
B Division Girls’ High Jump – Results
1st Jade Chew Yiu Tse (#1031, Nanyang Girls’ High School) — 1.62 metres
2nd Rena Edward (#675, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School) — 1.50
3rd Chin Rae Ning (#862, St. Joseph’s Institution (International)) — 1.50
4th Kirsten Anne Tay Yu En (#883, Cedar Girls’ Secondary) — 1.50
5th Hu Tianqi (#1041, Nanyang Girls’ High School) — 1.48
6th Vean Lim Eu Sun (#735, Singapore Sports School) — 1.43
7th Kelly Pang Yi Xuan (#895, Cedar Girls’ Secondary) — 1.40
8th Ho Ning (#882, Cedar Girls’ Secondary) — 1.35
8th Aiko Tye Wen Xin (#680, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School) — 1.35
More photos next page