Another hurdle cleared

She felt that her rhythm was off, her running form poor, and that she was surely way off her personal best.

Dipna Lim-Prasad cut a forlorn figure yesterday when she crossed the 400 metres hurdles finish line at the Malaysian Open Track and Field Championships in Kuala Lumpur.

But her disappointment dissipated quickly upon learning that she had clocked a new national record. The 22-year-old timed 60.36 seconds to rewrite her own mark of 60.58, set in June.

Lim-Prasad also took a bronze for her efforts at the University of Malaya Arena track. Coming in first was Vietnam's Quach Thi Lan who won in 57.74, while Wassana Winatho of Thailand, the 2005 SEA Games gold medallist in this event, was second in 58.94. Said the Singaporean: "My stepping was off. And my last 100m, I was almost stopping before every hurdle then jumping over. It was a very weak finish.

"I'm really surprised that I managed to clock a new personal best, considering how haywire my run went."

It is undeniable though, that the runner is hitting a purple patch of form. She had broken the 29-year-old, 200m national mark of 24.54 with a 24.36 effort at the Singapore Under-23 Open meet two weeks ago.

The Singapore Athletics Association's chief of sports development Loh Chan Pew believes that the runner is likely to go faster at December's SEA Games in Myanmar.

He said: "She did very well today, but her rhythm at the last two hurdles was off. She could have done better."

However, a medal could still be some way off for Lim-Prasad, given that the third-place time in 2011 was 59.64.

She is also entered for the 4x400m women's relay but not the 200m sprint.

But one runner that Loh is tipping to stand on the podium in Myanmar is Shanti Pereira, who followed up her 100m bronze on Saturday with a silver in the 200m yesterday.

The 17-year-old timed 24.56sec to finish behind Sri Lanka's Subachini Rasnayaka (24.10). Third was Thai Phatsorn Jaksuninkorn (24.92).

Said Loh, on Shanti: "We have 11/2 months to go, but if she keeps up her form, she will win a medal.

"Her starts were quite slow but her finishes were very powerful. We just need to work on a faster start."

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