SINGAPORE - She beat older javelin throwers in the B Division and even surpassed the 2018 winning distance of 34.13m at the Schools National track and field championships.
Yet victory was bittersweet for Cedar Girls' Secondary School's Daakshayani Negi, who threw 34.70m at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Friday (March 8).
She failed to break the B Division record of 36.67m or better her personal best of 35m. The 15-year-old had set the C Division record of 33.29m and won the gold in 2018, and was hoping to repeat that success.
Daakshayani focused on strengthening her whole body instead of just the upper body like before.
"I changed to working out my overall body to gain arm strength, leg strength and flexibility.
"I was able to throw my javelin further because I had support from every muscle in my body, not just the upper body," she said.
But the pressure from last year's feat proved too much for her, and she said: "I expected to win but I was also stressed. When I broke the record last year, people assumed I would do it again this year. There was also additional pressure after winning and I couldn't do as well as I did last year.
"I'm sad I didn't hit my aim but I'm glad that I improved from last year's nationals."
The Nanyang Girls' High duo of Jaydene Phua (33.42m) and Adele Ling (30.37m) were second and third respectively.
Also, Nanyang's Ann Lee won the triple jump in 11.46m, ahead of Cedar's Mabel Leow (10.79m) and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' Chung Ning Xin (10.58m).
The 15-year-old Ann said the meets she competed in this year - such as the 2019 Singapore Athletics Track & Field Series 1 and 2 - helped her achieve a PB.
She said: "The weekly competitions helped me improve myself and my mistakes. The results (from those meets) told me where I stood and I could work towards my goal with a clearer mindset.
"I'm quite proud of myself because I worked quite hard. Even though the result wasn't what I expected, it's OK I can try again next year in the A Division," said Ann, who was aiming for 11.90m.
Raffles Institution achieved a one-two finish in the B Division boys' high jump through Mingwen Lee Sullivan and Benjamin Seah, who achieved 1.85m and 1.78m respectively, while Hwa Chong Institution's Josiah Tan (1.76m) was third.
RI coach Fuad Idris said: "We had a pretty good preparation. Sometimes the boys try their best in training but don't clear some heights every time.
"In competitions, you can use adrenaline to your benefit so I think today they maintained their composure and were able to perform."