School sports: Hwa Chong Institution's Togawa Mei sets Schools National pole vault record

Hwa Chong Institution pole vaulter Togawa Mei won the gold medal at the Schools National Track and Field Championships at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on March 12, 2019.
Hwa Chong Institution pole vaulter Togawa Mei won the gold medal at the Schools National Track and Field Championships at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on March 12, 2019.ST PHOTO: SAHIBA CHAWDHARY

SINGAPORE - It was their final Schools National Track and Field Championships and Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) duo Togawa Mei and Jasmin Phua were aiming to go out on a high.

While both clinched gold medals at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Tuesday (March 12), it was pole vaulter Togawa who had more to cheer about as she set a championship record in the girls' Opens Division.

The 18-year-old's 3.19m effort was 0.01m higher than the 2014 mark of Jurong Junior College's Carmel Teo.

Jasmin won the girls' A Division discus but failed to replicate her success last year when she set a national Under-18 record.

"I didn't think much of it," said Singaporean Togawa, who has Japanese parents, on attempting to break the record.

"I tried to keep it at the back of my mind because I didn't want it to pressure me. I just wanted to jump like I always jumped in training."

Togawa, part of Singapore's artistic gymnastic team that won a silver medal at the 2017 SEA Games, achieved the feat on her third and final attempt to loud cheers from schoolmates and coaches.

"Deep down, I really wanted to clear it because I felt I was quite close. So I just focused on what my coach was telling me from the side technique-wise," she added.

Nanyang Girls' High's Christy Chng (3.05m) was second and HCI's Phoebe Choong (2.95m) third.

Jasmin was frustrated because four of her six throws had gone out of bounds and "I could tell they were further than my winning throw" of 38.41m. It was a far cry from her record of 45.80m set last year. Her teammate Foo Qi Xin (31.47m) finished second ahead of Victoria JC's (VJC) Wong Rui Yue (30.86m).

Said Jasmin, 18: "It feels like a waste because after six years, I didn't finish on the best note. But I'm quite happy we managed to get a one-two finish for our school."

HCI completed a sweep of the day's golds through long jumper Tedd Toh who set a personal best of 6.89m in the boys' A Division to finish ahead of VJC pair Kampton Kam (6.81m) and Lim Rik (6.66m).

Said Tedd, 17: "I've been working for one whole year, but the results haven't been showing. I told myself to be patient and it'll prevail one day and, luckily today, it did."

High jump specialist Kampton, a nominee for The Straits Times Young Athlete of the Year 2018 award, was "astonished" to win a silver considering it is the first time in six years he is competing in long jump. The 18-year-old is also on the comeback trail from a back injury he suffered in an accident in January.

"My first event in Primary 3 was long jump so it's very good to close it with a medal," said Kampton, who holds the U-18 and U-20 high jump records and will be competing in the A Division event on March 29.