Hurrah for relay women

Hurrah for relay women
The 4x100m Singaporean women's team who broke the national record during the 77th Singapore Open Track & Field Championships held at the Singapore Sports Hub on 4 April 2015. From left, Smriti Menon, Eugenia Tan, Shanti Pereira and Wendy Enn.

They did not think they ran a good race.

Without the official timing to refer to, the Singapore women's 4x100m team immediately started to analyse what went wrong with their race at the finishing line.

It was only when a teammate broke the good news as they were warming down that Wendy Enn, Shanti Pereira, Dipna Lim-Prasad and Smriti Menon found out that they had rewritten the national record at the Taiwan Athletics Open last night.

The quartet clocked 46.44 seconds in last night's heats to erase the old mark of 46.64, set by Enn, Shanti, Smriti and Eugenia Tan during the Singapore Open at the National Stadium last month.

The new mark is pending ratification by Singapore Athletics.

Lim-Prasad, 23, said: "It was our first time running together in this line-up, so our passing (of the baton) was shaky.

"Also, Wendy and Smriti were a bit tired from their 100m race and I'm still a bit injured.

"It (the new record) was a big surprise. We were cooling down together when Joy (Kuan, 400m runner) broke the news to us.

"We started laughing and screaming. It was such an amazing moment we shared."

Smriti, 17, added: "It was definitely unexpected as our passing was not as smooth as we would have liked it to be.

"However, it was an amazing moment to hear that we broke the national record by 0.20 seconds, and we hope to do even better tomorrow."

The women are through to the final today, along with South-east Asia (SEA) Games rivals Thailand (45.42) and Indonesia (45.88).

Thailand won the gold at the 2013 SEA Games in 44.42, while Indonesia took bronze in 45.88.

Vietnam, silver medallists at the last SEA Games, did not compete in Taiwan.

Although the new national mark was still off the 2013 bronze timing, Lim-Prasad said the new timing was a "huge boost" to the team's morale.

She said: "Shanti and I have individual events tomorrow, so we can't promise that we can break the record again, but it (new record) just shows the progression we've made, and the potential for improvement that we have."

MEN MADE IT TOO

The women's 4x100m team will be joined by their male counterparts - Calvin Kang, Gary Yeo, Amirudin Jamal and Elfi Mustapa - who qualified for today's final with a 40.07 effort in the heats.

They will be up against teams like Thailand (39.74) and Indonesia (39.76).

Earlier yesterday, Kang finished fifth in the men's 100m final in 10.55, while reigning SEA Games champion Jirapong Meenapra was third (10.51).

Also, Cheryl Chan became the first Singaporean woman to go under 12 minutes in the 3,000m steeplechase last night.

The 19-year-old clocked 11:55.50 to erase her old national record of 12:07.42, clocked at the Malaysia Open this year.


This article was first published on May 16, 2015.
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