Story by Iman Hashim/Red Sports. Photos by Iman Hashim and Jared Khoo/Red Sports.
National Stadium, Friday, March 29, 2019 — In his first year competing in the century sprint, Zeen Chia of Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) came out tops in the B Division boys’ 100 metres final to emerge the surprise victor.
The Secondary 4 student — whose pet event is the long jump — was previously also a racewalker during his time in the C Division, and only started doing specific sprints training five months ago.
“In jumps training we do have short sprint time trials and I noticed that my times were pretty okay,” Zeen recalled. “And I thought that since I’m only doing one event, I should just try the 100m to see how things go.”
“It is very surreal that I’m the 100m champion as when I took up the 100m last October, I told myself that I should just aim for a top five finish and that would be okay,” he continued.
Yet, Zeen exceeded even his own expectations as he outsprinted Mark Lee of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) to the gold, stopping the clock at 11.26 seconds to edge out last year’s C Division champion by seven hundredths of a second.
The timing is a new personal best for Zeen, improving on the 11.44s he clocked in the semi-finals which placed him overall second behind Mark.
“I’m aware that the other competitors are more experienced than me, but I stayed confident and I trusted that God would deliver if I kept the faith and just moved on without doubt,” said Zeen.
“When I crossed the line I remembered seeing Mark from the corner of my eye very near me, so I didn’t dare to claim the win just yet. So seeing my name appear first was relieving.”
Having also won the long jump event earlier in this meet, recording a huge distance of 6.69m — the fourth furthest all-time in the B Division — Zeen’s victory in the blue riband event sees him seal a rare 100m-long jump double.
He became the first boy to do so since way back in 1983, when then-Raffles Junior College athlete Chen Kede won the A Division 100m and long jump golds.
Funnily enough, Zeen’s HCI senior Tedd Toh replicated the same feat just moments later in the A Division race.
“Being a person that sets very high expectations for myself, I definitely was expecting good results from this year since it’s my last year in B Div,” Zeen said. “But I told myself to just do my best and the medals would just be a bonus.”
“I guess what went right this season was that I used pressure to my advantage to push me instead of bringing me down. I also ensured I put in my best at training to make the best out of every session, and I also spent ample time recovering.”
Later in the afternoon, Zeen anchored HCI to a bronze in the 4x100m relay final, along with teammates Jonathan Heng, Or Yong Hur and Damien Koh.
B Division Boys’ 100m Final – Results
1st Zeen Chia (#590, Hwa Chong Institution) — 11.26 seconds
2nd Mark Lee Ren (#201, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 11.33
3rd Pinto Gabriel Matthew (#498, Victoria School) — 11.52
4th Nicholas Teo Hong Xin (#145, Singapore Sports School) — 11.54
5th Kieren Lee Shen Ee (#491, Victoria School) — 11.59
6th Lim Yu Hng (#367, Bedok View Secondary) — 11.69
7th Aaron Chan Yong Chi (#177, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 11.71
8th Roysius Tay Jun Rong (#208, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 11.83
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