Cedar Girls' track is its 'heart and soul'

SINGAPORE - The Cedar Girls' Secondary School track, where generations of schoolgirls have trained for half a century, is set to make way for the new Bidadari estate when its lease ends in 2017.

The field will be making room for around 600 public flats, a road, a medical facility and a place of worship.

But for some of Cedar Girls' Secondary's former national schools track stars, it has never been "just a running track".

"The Cedar track is the heart and soul of the school. For decades, it has been the most deeply rooted feature of its identity," housewife and former sprinter Yonnie Kwok, 40, told The New Paper.

The 400m track behind the school has churned out runners who topped the leaderboard at the national schools meets since 1957.

Over the last 40 years, Cedar Girls' Secondary was the champion 34 times across the B and C divisions.

Ms Kwok, who took top spots in the races of 1987, said the school owed its impressive athletics performance each year at the national schools meet "to her track".

"I was very shocked and disappointed when I learnt that our beloved track is making way for housing," she said.

Former hurdler Fiona Tan, 35, and former 400m runner Shereen Ng, 37, felt the same, and wanted to "do something to help preserve the track".

"Every girl coming in to Cedar had to go through a time trial during orientation. Every girl knows it's a privilege to get picked for the track team," said Ms Tan, now a teacher.

Ms Kwok proposed a solution.

"Why not pose a challenge to architects and estate planners by allowing the Cedar track to be integrated into the Bidadari development? The Cedar track has great potential to lend character to the estate. Besides, the residents, too, can use it to live a healthy lifestyle," she said.

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