Sixth straight gold for Jannah as records fall in hurdles

Jannah Wong (centre) of Raffles Institution winning the A Division girls' 100m hurdles at the Schools National Track and Field Championships yesterday. Laura Tan (left) finished second while Natalie Tan (right) was third.

Four meet records fell as early as the heats of the hurdles events of the Schools National Track and Field Championships yesterday morning.

Then in the afternoon finals, three of them were lowered again by the same athletes in a thrilling day of races at Choa Chua Kang Stadium.

Jannah Wong also clinched her sixth consecutive schools national gold medal in the 100m hurdles, winning the A Division girls' race in 14.91sec.

Earlier in the heats, the 17-year-old - who has won the event every year since Secondary 1 - smashed the meet record of 15.03 with a stunning 14.69 effort.

Her time even eclipsed the national junior record of 14.72, set by SEA Games bronze medallist Dipna Lim-Prasad.

"I was aiming to beat my personal best of 15.03," said the second-year student at Raffles Institution (RI). "I was also hoping to break the schools (record), but I didn't expect my timing to be better than the junior record."

Hurdling is second nature to Jannah - her mother Michelle was a hurdler, while her father William is vice-president of the Singapore Athletic Association.

"If I don't do hurdles, it feels like part of my life's missing," she quipped.

She plans to go into full-time training, motivated by a desire to qualify for her first SEA Games on home soil next year.

Jannah's own B and C Division records were however re-written yesterday, in strong showings by the Singapore Sports School (SSP) athletes.

Nur Izlyn Zaini, 15, completed her B Division 100m hurdles heats in 14.77, shattering Jannah's 14.83 mark. During the afternoon finals, she smashed her own record again with a time of 14.65.

She will head to Bangkok next month for the Youth Olympic Games Asian Area qualifications, and faces stiff competition from her Japanese counterparts, with only one Asian athlete to be selected for the 100m hurdles event.

In the C Division 80m hurdles finals, Tia Louise Rozario, 13, shaved 0.02 off her record-shattering 12.35 time in the heats. The old record held by Jannah was 12.44.

RI's Joshua Chua, 14, took gold for a second straight year in the C Division 100m hurdles finals with 13.26, lowering the 13.81 mark.

"It's amazing because he had a fever yesterday, so we weren't even sure if he could take part," said RI coach Melvin Tan.


This article was published on April 9 in The Straits Times.

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