Story and photos by Iman Hashim/Red Sports
Kallang Practice Track, Saturday, January 11, 2020 — As he took to the starting blocks in the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) men’s 100-metre final, two-time defending champ Khairyll Amri only had one goal: to enjoy his run.
“I think after a long, hard season, I wanted to end it off by just having fun,” said the 27-year-old Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduate. “I didn’t let (any pressure) play into my mind.”
Lining up beside training partner Muhammad Naqib Asmin of Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), Khairyll added that they tried not to treat the race like a final, but more like a training run.
The two veteran sprinters, who train under Temasek Polytechnic (TP) head coach Hamkah Afik, eventually took the top two positions with timings of 10.80 and 10.89 seconds respectively, aided by a 2.7 metres per second tail-wind.
Fellow training buddy Yusuf Arsyad of TP finished fifth in 11.28s, while National University of Singapore (NUS) duo Sing Hui and Mitchell Teh were sandwiched in between with timings of 10.97s and 11.05s respectively.
“It was a good race, because we didn’t feel too much pressure and felt more relaxed,” said Khairyll. “I felt I had more gears to push, but because of the pain I’m feeling, I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to.”
Coming on the back of a long year, which culminated with an outing to the recent Southeast Asian (SEA) Games as a reserve for the mixed 4x100m relay team, Khairyll revealed that he had to overcome nagging injuries to his heel and hamstring.
For Naqib, it has been an equally trying journey getting back to form after completing his national service obligations in the police force. His performances in the heats (10.96s) and final (10.89s) meant he has dipped under the 11-second barrier for the first time since 2016.
“It was enduring and difficult, and to add on to that frustration, there’s the desperation that you want to get back that form,” said Naqib, who remains the joint eighth-fastest Singaporean man all-time with a 10.57s personal best clocked as a 19-year-old back in 2014.
“A lot of times I felt like I was in a really dark place, because at that point in time I was having injuries, so when it was time for me to go national service, I already felt sad for myself, because I wanted to end off on a good note but in the end I couldn’t do it,” he added.
As he turns 25 this year, he is faced with a new set of challenges: juggling school, part-time work and training. Usually working in the mornings as a food delivery rider, Naqib trains in the afternoons before attending evening classes at SUSS.
“Last year wasn’t that great for me since I was also trying to get used to my schedule, but now I’m more in control,” said Naqib. “But I’m actually thankful because all this while, all these obstacles have shaped me into who I am — I am more tolerant, more patient, you could say, because some things you cannot rush into it from the start.”
But coach Hamkah admitted there is still a long way to go for his charges.
Said the former national men’s relay coach: “I think it’s a good start to the season, but if you ask me, the standard is not there yet. As you know, 10.8, 10.9 gets you nowhere in the region. So they need to really manage their time, and we will see how we can progress them to work towards sub-10.5s, that’s the plan.”
“It was a very challenging year in Singapore, but having said that, I’m not backing off — we will find ways and means to see how we can work with the system and get these guys down to sub-10.5s in the next one to two years,” he added.
Hamkah’s daughter Haanee had earlier also clinched gold in the women’s 100m final, pulling TP teammate Gwendolyn Lim to the silver with huge personal bests of 12.30s and 12.64s respectively. NTU’s Tanisha Moghe completed the podium clocking 12.96s.
Haanee’s time bettered her previous personal best of 12.42s set at last November’s POL-ITE meet and equalled during the IVP heats.
“Knowing Haanee came back from SEA games and had a short holiday break, came back and still ran a PB, I think she rose to the occasion,” said Hamkah.
“For Gwen I’m very happy for her, she had a PB of 12.84s and today she ran 12.64s, it’s another great improvement so congrats to coach Joy (Kuan). We share a lot of information in terms of coaching, so I think it’s really nice to see the gradual progression of these athletes coming in nicely.”
In the day’s other sprint event, NTU’s Calvin Quek and NUS’ Celeste Goh comfortably came out tops in their respective 400m finals.
Calvin posted 52.37s to win the men’s final ahead of TP’s Jonathan Andrew (53.70s) and Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Kadir Bahajjaj (53.82s), while Celeste claimed the women’s gold stopping the clock at 1:02.59 as Singapore Polytechnic’s Katherine Carino (1:05.19) and Singapore Institute of Management’s Kang Pei Ling (1:05.22) took silver and bronze.
Men’s 100m Final (W/G: +2.7m/s)
1st Khairyll Amri B Tumadi (#92, Nanyang Technological University) — 10.80 seconds
2nd Muhammad Naqib B Asmin (#402, Singapore University of Social Sciences) — 10.89
3rd Sing Hui (#165, National University of Singapore) — 10.97
4th Mitchell Teh Yee Cher (#189, National University of Singapore) — 11.05
5th Yusuf Arsyad B Muhammad Shazni (#443, Temasek Polytechnic) — 11.28
6th Barbosa Gillian (#40, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 11.29
7th Kannan Pavindhiran (#64, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 11.42
8th Ho Jia Fu (#259, Republic Polytechnic) — 11.62
Women’s 100m Final (W/G: +1.9m/s)
1st Haanee Bte Hamkah (#428, Temasek Polytechnic) — 12.30 seconds
2nd Gwendolyn Therese Lim (#434, Temasek Polytechnic) — 12.64
3rd Tanisha Moghe (#82, Nanyang Technological University) — 12.96
4th Raine Oh Shu Qin (#248, Republic Polytechnic) — 12.98
5th Rebecca Tay (#32, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 13.12
6th Nurul Syarah Bte Razali (#205, Ngee Ann Polytechnic) — 13.39
7th Celine Goe (#348, Singapore Polytechnic) — 13.41
8th Brenda Jansen (#77, Nanyang Technological University) — 13.76
Men’s 400m Final
1st Calvin Quek Jun Jie (#113, Nanyang Technological University) — 52.37 seconds
2nd Jonathan Andrew (#440, Temasek Polytechnic) — 53.70
3rd Kadir Bahajjaj (#420, Singapore University of Technology and Design) — 53.82
4th Tan Yong Ming (#389, Singapore Polytechnic) — 53.84
5th Koh Wei Shien (#168, National University of Singapore) — 54.19
6th Ian Matthew Ngui (#44, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 54.46
7th Ariff Izzudin (#331, Singapore Management University) — 55.08
8th Hadi Nursalihin B Mohd Ismail (#442, Temasek Polytechnic) — 55.30
Women’s 400m Final
1st Celeste Goh Jia Rui (#127, National University) — 1 minute 2.59 seconds
2nd Katherine Carino (#645, Singapore Polytechnic) — 1:05.19
3rd Kang Pei Ling (#278, Singapore Institute of Management) — 1:05.22
4th Noor Fatehah Bte Mustaffa (#28, Nanyang Polytechnic) — 1:05.66
5th Arissa Rashid (#418, Singapore University of Technology and Design) — 1:06.66
6th Chua Shi Qi (#126, National University of Singapore) — 1:08.92
7th Carissa Wong (#327, Singapore Management University) — 1:10.01
8th Tor Jia Wen (#439, Temasek Polytechnic) — 1:11.44
Full results can be found at https://www.singaporeathletics.org.sg/results/ivp2020/. The IVP meet resumes on Wednesday, January 15 and Saturday, January 18.
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