Story and photos by Iman Hashim/Red Sports
Bukit Gombak Stadium, Thursday, May 5, 2022 — Cedar Girls’ Secondary claimed three out of a possible four relay golds at the 63rd National Schools Track and Field Championships, clinching double relay victory in the girls’ C Division and crossing the line first in the B girls’ 4 by 100 metres race. It was the first time the school has won three or more relay golds in the same meet since the alumnae of 1999 also won both C girls’ relays as well as the B Division 4x400m.
Though Cedar typically make the podium in the relays, it was remarkably their first C girls’ 4x400m gold since 2011, first B girls’ 4x100m gold since 2004, first C girls’ 4x100m gold since 1999, and the first time Cedar have swept both B and C girls’ 4x100m relays in 26 years — bucking the trend of a dominance by Nanyang Girls’ High School (NYGH) and Singapore Sports School (SSP) in the last few editions.
“It’s insane, I got goosebumps. I actually teared in front of them just now… it’s embarrassing,” said Cedar sprints coach Joy Kuan.
“Our school track is a 280-metre odd-shaped track… I’m really surprised at the relay performances,” she added.
Cedar’s relay double in the C Division capped off another strong showing by the school, clinching their fourth C girls’ divisional title in a row.
Led off by individual 400m and 200m hurdles champion Choo Jia Yi, Cedar’s C girls overcame the challenge of CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ (52.68s) and Nanyang Girls’ (52.95s) to win the 4x100m in 52.36 seconds, while Jia Yi anchored the 4x400m team to gold in 4:26.23 ahead of NYGH (4:30.88) and Methodist Girls’ School (4:33.72) — ensuring she ended the meet as a quadruple gold medalist.
“I’m quite proud for the 4 by 1, because I think it was one of the best starts I’ve had out of the three 4 by 1 races,” said Jia Yi, whose other teammates were Ayra Azman Tan, Ess Claudia Joan Shi En and Caelyn Chew.
Jia Yi, Ayra and Caelyn also teamed up for the 1600m relay, along with Lim Suang Kee — who led a Cedar 1-2-3 podium sweep in the C girls’ 3000m final, clocking 12:39.15 ahead of teammates Tabitha Ng and Ruth Anna Lee.
Caelyn, gold medalist in the 800m and silver medalist behind Jia Yi in the 400m, said: “I feel very happy because my team got first, and it’s been a very long time since we got first… because in primary school we kept getting second or third.”
“There was a bit (of pressure), but most of the time we just encouraged one another so that we won’t feel the pressure,” added Caelyn, who has been running together with Jia Yi and Ayra since their days in St. Anthony’s Canossian Primary School.
Ayra, who took silver in the 80m hurdles event and placed fifth in the individual 100m, also admitted there were nerves going into the 4x100m final.
“I feel very proud of them, because even though we got first for the heats and semi-finals, I feel like there was big pressure because anything can happen during finals,” she said.
“The third runner Claudia, she was like freaking out… since she was freaking out, I was also freaking out… all of us were freaking out, but Coach Joy told us to be chill and calm down,” added Ayra, referring to teammate Claudia who placed fourth in the triple jump the same day and sixth in the long jump.
“I guess we just encouraged one another to chill and just focus on making the passes efficiently.”
Methodist Girls’ Chloe Chee, champion in the C girls’ 100m (13.19s) and long jump (5.12m), got the baton in fourth place in the 4x400m final before running a strong anchor to help her school finish with the bronze.
It was MGS’s first relay medal at the National Schools since 1998.
The B Division girls’ 4x100m final saw an equally thrilling conclusion as the Cedar seniors edged out Sports School by 0.08 seconds, stopping the clock at 50.06s against the latter’s 50.14s.
Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) finished third in 51.80s, winning their school’s first B Division 4x100m medal in 20 years.
“Honestly, I couldn’t really take it in… it was so surreal to me,” said Cedar anchor Meredith Lee, who placed fourth in the individual 100m and fifth in the 200m.
“When I crossed the line, I knew I was first, but I still had that kind of doubt in my mind, like, was I actually first?”
Second runner Megan Ying, champion in the B girl’s long jump (5.26m) and silver medalist in the 100m (13.07s), pitched in: “I’m very proud of them, because it was not guaranteed that we were going to get first.”
“But Meredith pushed, and we all pushed, and we managed to come in first,” Megan continued, adding that the win was redemption for her individual 100m final, of which she was disappointed not to take gold after qualifying fastest from the semis with a personal best 12.90s.
The final was won by CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ Jayme Ng (12.91s), who also took gold in the 200m (26.36s).
Cedar third runner Nerys Elizabeth John also could not contain her disbelief after the relay final.
“We wanted the gold, but we didn’t really expect it, because SSP were already in front of us in the heats and semis… but we always wanted the gold,” she said.
Lead-off runner Sharlene Soh rounded up, saying: “I’m very proud of all my teammates, and want to thank our coach for helping us get gold for this relay.”
The next day, Meredith and Nerys finished fourth in the 4x400m together with Calyne Low and Isabel Toh, in a race won by Singapore Sports School.
63rd National Schools Track and Field Championships 2022
Selected Relay Results
C Div Girls’ 4x100m Relay Final
1st Cedar Girls’ Secondary School — 52.36 seconds
2nd CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School — 52.68
3rd Nanyang Girls’ High School — 52.95
4th Singapore Sports School — 53.79
5th Dunman High School — 54.15
6th National Junior College — 54.63
7th Methodist Girls’ School — 55.69
8th CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) — 56.14
C Div Girls’ 4x400m Relay Final
1st Cedar Girls’ Secondary School — 4 minutes 26.23 seconds
2nd Nanyang Girls’ High School — 4:30.88
3rd Methodist Girls’ School — 4:33.72
4th National Junior College — 4:34.79
5th CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School — 4:35.48
6th Singapore Sports School — 4:42.24
7th Dunman High School — 4:43.31
8th Raffles Girls’ School — 4:46.99
B Div Girls’ 4x100m Relay Final
1st Cedar Girls’ Secondary School — 50.06 seconds
2nd Singapore Sports School — 50.14
3rd Raffles Girls’ School — 51.80
4th Nanyang Girls’ High School — 52.05
5th CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) — 52.16
6th CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School — 53.85
7th National Junior College — 54.75
8th Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School — 54.82
Story on the A boys’ 4x100m, A boys’ 4x400m and C boys’ 4x400m relay finals here.
Story on the A girls’ 4x100m, A girls’ 4x400m and C boys’ 4x100m relay finals here.
Story on the B boys’ 4x100m, B boys’ 4x400m and B girls’ 4x400m relay finals here.
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