The Nanyang Girls' High School B Division 4x800m relay team were beaming with confidence when they arrived for the first day of the SPH Schools Relay Championships at Bishan Stadium yesterday.
The girls thought that they would make it to the podium with ease, until one of their runners fell ill and vomited before the race.
Coach Tan Yew Ling had no choice but to field reserve runner Lau Shen-I as the team took their places on the track.
Despite the hiccup, the Nanyang girls won in 10min 57.93sec, while the Singapore Sports School (11:18.89) and National Junior College (11:25.57) were second and third respectively.
"Before the competition, we told the girls that the reserve runner is as good as the main ones so they have to be mentally prepared and ready for the competition, too," said Tan.
The 15-year-old Shen-I, who replaced her ill teammate, was nervous when told about her last-minute inclusion.
SPH SCHOOLS RELAY CHAMPIONSHIPS
DAY 1 WINNERS
C Boys: Singapore Sports School (SSP)
B Boys: SSP
A Boys: National JC (NJC)
C Girls: SSP
B Girls: Nanyang Girls High School (NYGH)
A Girls: NJC
C Boys: SSP
B Boys: SSP
A Boys: Raffles Institution (RI)
C Girls: CHIJ St Nicholas Girls
B Girls: NYGH
A Girls: RI
"I didn't feel prepared but I'm proud of the team for coming in first despite the change," she said.
Tan added: "I told her that competition is not just about winning.
"Often, there will be obstacles and challenges ahead.
" We just have to take up the challenge and try to deliver our best, and she did."
Nanyang also won the B girls' 4x200m, were second in the C girls' 4x800m and third in the C girls' 4x200m.
The Sports School were the biggest winners yesterday, clinching five gold medals from 12 events.
The two-day meet ends today.