Eugenia Tan has been training seriously in the long jump for only a little over a month - since finding out she would be competing in the event at next month's South-east Asia (SEA) Games.
So, when she leapt 5.94 metres during the Track & Field Series 4 at the Kallang Practice Track yesterday, she was quite surprised.
The 19-year-old's effort marked a new women's national long jump record, bettering the 5.88m distance set by Yu Long Nyu in 1993.
Tan, who is also a national record holder with the women's 4x100m relay team, set her previous personal best of 5.71m at the Track & Field Series 3 in March.
"I've been training seriously in the long jump with my new coach (Katrina Hall) for only a month and a few days," Tan told The New Paper.
"I really didn't expect results so instantly. I've been training hard though, much more compared to before."
Before yesterday's feat, Tan set herself a target of becoming the first Singaporean woman to go beyond six metres.
While that is still her aim, the Republic Polytechnic student in sports and leisure management played down talk of winning a medal at the National Stadium at the 28th SEA Games, to be held here from June 5 to 16.
The winning distance at the 2013 Games in Myanmar was 6.39m, set by Indonesia's Maria Londa.
The bronze went to Vietnam's Bui Thi Thu Thao, who leapt 6.14m.
"I think a medal at the SEA Games is quite impossible," said Tan, who stands at 1.70m.
"At the Singapore Open (last month), third place was around 6.50m - and not all the countries were even there.
"You never know, of course, but I'm not going for that. I just want to focus on bettering (my) national record, and go beyond six metres."
Tan will be part of the 4x100m women's relay team, alongside Shanti Pereira, Wendy Enn and Smriti Menon. The quartet are trying for a medal at the Games. They clocked 46.64 seconds at the Singapore Open last month to set a new national record, beating the 46.68 set in 2007.
While sprinting is still her first love, Tan said that she is enjoying her spell as a long jumper.
"I started the long jump two years ago; I felt that I needed a change from sprint," Tan explained.
"But, at the time, I didn't compete (in the long jump) consistently. It was more for fun than anything else.
"I'm starting to embrace it more now. Hopefully, the distances get better from here."
The Track & Field Series 4 will conclude today at the Kallang Practice Track.
This article was first published on May 10, 2015.
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