Millennia Institute (MI) featured only one representative at the 2015 National Inter School Track & Field Championships, and Haikal Ismail must have felt like a very lonely athlete when he lined up on Monday for the A Division boys' 200m final at the Bukit Gombak Stadium.
It didn't stop him from storming to gold in 22.51sec, ensuring he would be full of confidence for the glamour race - the 100m.
On the final day of competition yesterday at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, in front of his raucous teachers and schoolmates, Haikal made it a glorious double when he won the blue riband event in 11.02, putting MI on the schools' athletics map.
He beat Raffles Institution's Chin Yew Chung, who collected silver in 11.18sec, with Timothy Ong of ACS (I) taking the bronze (11.27).
Haikal was over the moon when The New Paper spoke to him after his race, saying: "It's my second gold, and it feels really incredible to win the 100, the showpiece event of the meet.
"I have to thank those who turned up to cheer me on at my race. It really motivated me.
"It was very lonely to be the only representative from MI, because I look at the other schools, and they have their own teams and fellow schoolmates both on and off the track.
"But my supporters helped me get over the line and I'm very happy."
His teacher-in-charge, Shawn Ang, said that Haikal was MI's only representative because they lacked a sufficient number of credible athletes.
While the number one in his school, and even after his feat in the 200m, Haikal was still very much a wild card for the 100, according to Ang.
"He was a darkhorse, because there were sprinters from Raffles Institution and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) lining up alongside him. The odds were not in his favour.
"But credit to him, because he's made the school really proud with his performance.
"Winning two golds in only two events is no easy feat, but he's done it.
"He's got a good attitude, and he trains hard. It's just reward for his effort."
The overall results of the schools track and field championships remain up in the air as the 4x400m relays in the A, B and C Divisions - boys' and girls' -were not completed yesterday because of lightning.
The meet will conclude tomorrow at the Singapore Sports School.
This article was first published on Apr 23, 2015.
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