Athletics: Singapore Sports School win five golds on opening day of SPH Schools Relay Championships

Singapore Sports School's Diane Pragasam passing the baton to team-mate Palada Tang in the A Division girls' 4x200m relay final yesterday. The team won the event and will compete in the 4x100m and 4x400m at Bishan Stadium today.
Singapore Sports School's Diane Pragasam passing the baton to team-mate Palada Tang in the A Division girls' 4x200m relay final yesterday. The team won the event and will compete in the 4x100m and 4x400m at Bishan Stadium today.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

New A Division girls' relay quartet claim 1 of 5 golds won by SSP in a boost for overall title

The Singapore Sports School's (SSP) A Division girls' 4x200m relay quartet may have been assembled just two weeks ago, but that did not stop them from winning the title in dominant fashion at yesterday's SPH Schools Relay Championships.

Tia Rozario, Diane Pragasam, Palada Tang and Ismi Zakiah won gold in 1min 46.64sec, almost 10 seconds ahead of runners-up Anglo-Chinese Junior College (1:55.96).

National Junior College (NJC) were third in 1:56.28 on the first day of the meet at Bishan Stadium.

Lead runner Tia, whose pet event is the long jump and also trains in hurdles, said even though it was their first time competing as a relay quartet, it helped that all four girls were part of the same training group.

The 17-year-old, who holds the national Under-18 girls' long jump record, acknowledged the confidence boost ahead of today's 4x100m and 4x400m relays.

"Now we've built even stronger trust, our passing of the baton will go more smoothly tomorrow," she added.

Palada, competing in the A Division for the first time, agreed: "I feel this will push me to do even better (for future races)."

Their victory was SSP's fifth gold of the day, with the B and C Division boys winning their respective 4x800m races, and the B and C Division girls also taking gold in the 4x200m.

There was, however, some disappointment for SSP's B Division 4x200m boys' team, who crossed the finish line first but were disqualified as officials ruled that one of their runners did not run in his assigned lane.

Anchor runner Haziq Yazli took the setback in his stride.

"We'll try to aim for gold in both the 4x100m and 4x400m... it's not the first time that SSP has been disqualified and this is the officials' decision," said the 16-year-old.

Lead runner Lucas Lim added: "Whatever the outcome, we still did our best and I think we'd better be more careful next time."

Both boys also competed at the meet last year, when SSP's six-year streak of winning the championship was snapped by Raffles Institution (RI), and are hopeful of wresting the title back this year.

With 12 golds on offer yesterday, SSP's five-gold haul was the best by any school, followed by RI and NJC who won two golds each.

"That's the goal," said 16-year-old Lucas.

Now into its 26th year, the 2018 SPH Schools Relay Championships feature a total of 289 teams from 35 schools. The meet will end today at Bishan Stadium.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 04, 2018, with the headline 'Off to a flying start'. Print Edition | Subscribe