Sports School take sixth straight SPH Relays crown

(Above) Athletes from the Singapore Sports School celebrating yesterday after being crowned overall champions of the SPH Schools Relay Championships for the sixth consecutive year. (Right) Prem Sathiamoorthy, from the triumphant Raffles Institution 4
Athletes from the Singapore Sports School celebrating yesterday after being crowned overall champions of the SPH Schools Relay Championships for the sixth consecutive year. ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE
(Above) Athletes from the Singapore Sports School celebrating yesterday after being crowned overall champions of the SPH Schools Relay Championships for the sixth consecutive year. (Right) Prem Sathiamoorthy, from the triumphant Raffles Institution 4
Prem Sathiamoorthy, from the triumphant Raffles Institution 4x100m A Division boys' team, collapsing after his run owing to a hip injury suffered in the middle of the race.

Policy of challenging all their athletes helps them dominate the SPH Schools Relay C'ships

A strategy of emphasising participation reaped dividends for the Singapore Sports School (SSP), as they were crowned champions of the SPH Schools Relay Championships for the sixth consecutive year.

Such was their dominance that even though they fielded second stringers in some races, they still claimed the overall title yesterday with 109 points. SSP also topped the boys' and girls' B divisions, thanks to their wins in three of the four races in both categories.

"We want to ensure that all our students have a chance to run," said Jenny Lim, general manager of SSP's track and field academy, explaining their decision not to deploy just their best athletes.

"It is a good opportunity for us to stretch our students. Participating in competitions like this makes our students better athletes, and enables us to assess their strengths and weaknesses.

"This strategy is also a good way to ensure that we do not tax our athletes by entering them in multiple events."

  • Yesterday's results

    Boys' 4x100m

    •A Division: Raffles Institution

    •B Division: Singapore Sports School

    •C Division: Singapore Sports School

    Boys' 4x400m

    •A Division: Raffles Institution

    •B Division: Singapore Sports School

    •C Division: Singapore Sports School

    Girls' 4x100m

    •A Division: National Junior College

    •B Division: Singapore Sports School

    •C Division: Nanyang Girls' High School

    Girls' 4x400m

    •A Division: Hwa Chong Institution

    •B Division: Singapore Sports School

    •C Division: Singapore Sports School

SSP's head coach Pedro Acuna said that it was never their aim to dominate the competition.

"We were not looking to win," he said. "We were looking for our students to do their best and to improve. Today is simply a reflection of our preparation and training."

SSP's outstanding performance also saw them receive the Tay Cheng Khoon Memorial Trophy. The trophy is named after the late sports editor of The Straits Times and is given to the team who break a record by the biggest margin.

SSP's C Division boys' 4x100m team clocked 45.35 seconds, 0.05sec faster than the mark set by Hwa Chong Institution in 2008.

The team, comprising Mas Al-Haq Salikin, Lucas Lim Yi Liang, Mohamed Haziq Mohamed Yazli and Reuben Rainer Lee Siong En, all 14, were not intending to win the trophy. "We did not expect to break the record. We were just hoping to do our best," said Haziq.

After all, this was the first time all four boys had raced together. "We focused on our training and worked together," he said. "We hope that we can win this trophy again when we move to the B Division."

But SSP's runners were not the only ones to light up the Bukit Gombak Stadium. A gritty display by Raffles Institution's 4x100m A Division runner Prem Sathiamoorthy also deserves mention. He collapsed after finishing, and later revealed that it was because of a hip injury which cropped up in the middle of his run.

However, he did not let the pain get to him and continued running.

"I heard my team-mates cheering for me and I could not let them down," he said.

His decision to continue paid off as RI won the 4x100m A Division title en route to a clean sweep of all four of the divisional boys' crowns. Champions of both the A and C Division boys' competitions, they finished second overall, four points behind SSP.

A total of 37 schools took part in this year's championships.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'Sports School take sixth straight crown'. Print Edition | Subscribe