SINGAPORE - SHE IS a school track and field star who is known as "Roger Federer". Carys Hor wears the nickname because of her effortless running style that has yielded many gold medals during her four years at Nanyang Girls' High School. While Carys shares the Swiss tennis master's ability to make winning look easy, it has been anything but for the middle-distance runner, who specialises in the 800m and 1,500m.
The Secondary 4 student told The New Paper: "There is a certain satisfaction when you run and feel the wind. "It helps me to de-stress, especially when I have tough workouts. "I look forward to that sense of accomplishment when I finish my workout because even though it is quite tiring and I get muscle aches everywhere, it's a sign I tried my best."
Ever since she joined Nanyang through Direct School Admission in 2010, Carys has picked up seven individual gold medals from the eight events she has competed in at the National Inter-School Track and Field Championships.
She had to settle for the 800m silver as a Sec 1 student, but the one that got away spurred Carys on in training.
Said track and field teacher-coach Tan Yew Ling: "This girl doesn't talk much, but the way she trains is a motivation for the rest of the team.
"She really puts in effort and she's a smart athlete. I normally explain to the girls the objective of training and Carys understands it and follows instructions.
"She's a very special athlete because she's a very bright girl."
Carys is aware of how her juniors look up to her.
"I try to stay positive during training because I don't want the juniors to think that training is a burden," said the 15-year-old, who stands at 1.73m in height. "Most of them find training quite tiring and they dread it most of the time.
"During training, I'm quite serious and don't really joke a lot, but outside of it, I try to tell them it's for their own good and urge them to try to enjoy training." In April, Carys bagged gold medals in the B Division girls' 800m and 1,500m.
She clocked 2 minutes 30.18 seconds in the shorter distance, and 5:21.10sec in the longer race.
Her 800m time met the qualifying mark for the Asian Youth Games, which officially opens today in Nanjing, China.
Carys, who left for Nanjing yesterday, is looking forward to a higher level of competition, both at the AYG and when she moves on to Hwa Chong Institution.
She said: "I feel quite proud to have won seven out of eight gold medals and I really have to thank my coaches for being there for me and supporting me.
"Of course, I have to thank my batch mates as well for training with me when I have competitions even though the season is over.
"I'm not really sure what's been planned for me, but I'll try my best and see what I can achieve.
"I just hope I can represent Singapore in bigger competitions like the South-east Asia Games and the World Championships, if I can qualify."
Get The New Paper for more stories.