On 28th April, Victorians marched into the National Stadium at Kallang excitedly, eager to cheer on their fellow schoolmates who were competing in the National Track and Field Finals. Clad in our Fired Up! Tees, we sat next to our allied schools — Victoria School and Cedar Girls’ Secondary School. The whole VCA family was there to show support for one another. A word to describe the atmosphere there? “Electrifying,” said Nadiyah Toi of 17S34. “We should keep this college tradition of coming down to support our Track and Field athletes. It shows the unity of Victorians and it’s simply amazing to see everyone cheering so excitedly for our fellow Victorians.”
Getting ready to cheer our athletes on before the event
Indeed, the entire school was very supportive of their peers. From the tense, pin-drop silence, that fell over the stadium just before each event to give competitors time to clear their minds and concentrate on the event, to the cheers that erupted from the crowd as soon as the gun went off, to the way everyone stood up in support of the Victorians in the track as they neared the finish line, it was evident that we possessed strong school spirit that day. On a sadder note, however, our reporters were disappointed to see relatively few students staying till the end of the event — please be responsible and not leave early next time, Victorians!
Nevertheless, it was definitely clear on this momentous day that the focus was not just on us supporters. The focus, we all knew, was on our athletes. Throughout the event, hundreds of pairs of eyes at the grandstand were glued to our very own ‘sporting greats’, who had worked tremendously hard to successfully reach the final stage of the championship amidst intense competition. No one at the stadium could deny that these athletes, who were representing our school in a wide spectrum of events, from pole vault and high jump to sprints, were giving their best shot at bringing glory to the school. From the colossal display screens planted at both ends of the stadium, we could all witness the fierce intensity in their eyes, sparked by the sheer determination within them to push their limits and achieve the very best that they could.
This was best displayed in the A Division Boys’ 1500m final, which was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the day. Within seconds after the gun went off, Syed Hussein of 17S63 easily took the lead and dominated the pack from start to finish, widening the gap between himself and the chasing pack with every step, as the rest behind struggled to catch up. From this, it was 100% certain he would clinch the gold medal. However, that was not all. What kept the Victorian supporters glued to their seats came down to the final few seconds of the race. Throughout the race, some were skeptical that Gabriel James Neo of 17S43, a fellow finalist, was capable of achieving a podium finish, as he was constantly hovering around the 5th and 6th position. Yet, his fighting spirit was relentless. To everyone’s astonishment, he achieved the seemingly impossible and surpassed all expectations. With the last 200m kick, he managed to overtake 3 runners just in time to clinch the 3rd placing, beating the 4th by a mere 0.02 seconds. This surprise was evident in the huge smile he had on his face after the race, as the crowd roared behind him.
With Victorians achieving a first and third placing in this race, it definitely was something worth remembering. Speaking of his win, Hussein said, “Even though the timing wasn’t that great since it was quite far off my personal best, I must say that I felt really happy with the win. It definitely was a great experience running in the Sports Hub.”
It was, too, a spectacular finish for our 4×400m relay boys. Hovering between the fourth and fifth position throughout, Alexander Singh Abdullah, the last runner, went all out and eventually lead the VJC team to a podium finish, beating the 4th runner by 0.04 seconds with a time of 3:31.12. It was definitely 3 and a half minutes of heart-stopping action worth watching, as the sea of yellow went wild with excitement throughout.
One other highlight worth mentioning was the Opens Division Girls Pole Vault Finals. Tessa Goh, of 16A15, wowed the crowd with her seemingly gravity-defying jumps. Jump after jump, even as the crossbars were raised higher and higher, she continued her relentless pursuit to jump higher than her expectations. As she tightly gripped her pole and darted down the runway, ready to soar through the air, It was clear from the grandstands that she was going to give it her very best for every jump she had. And she definitely did. Her performance did not disappoint at all. With a jump of 2.85m, she eventually scooped home the silver medal. Yet this wasn’t the only reason that made this event a highlight of the day. The other reason came in the fact that she had little prior track and field background, which definitely made this spectacular result particularly worth mentioning. This result had come as a pleasant surprise for her, but it also reminded her that the impossible could be possible when you set your heart on something.
With these, it definitely showed that months of gruelling training and effort on the part of the team had certainly paid off. This year, VJC achieved stellar results, emerging as national second for our A-Div Girls, and national third for A-Div Boys!
(A more comprehensive list of VJ’s results can be found at the following website: http://www.dsmr-sports.com/d-sports/list.html)
This year’s results were phenomenal, and served to inspire not only Victorians but also students from other schools watching the event. One Cedarian at the event said, “I think even though it’s really time consuming, I still think match support is really meaningful and it’s worth it, and we should definitely continue to do this!”
Mr Caleb Ho, the teacher in charge expressed his pride for the VJ track team, saying “They fought very hard and trained very hard to reach where they reached today. We’re happy for them… many came from no background or experience, so getting even 6th is no easy feat. This really is what VJ is about, nothing without labour!”
It definitely was an electrifying day for all of us, and for our VJC Track and Field athletes, the race to the end was definitely not easy, but it surely was worth it. Although it was hard for us to relate to the efforts they have put in to achieve such stellar results, the Victorian spirit within them was something we could all relate to. Congratulations, VJC Track and Field!
James Tan, 17S51
Lois Kok, 17S62
Chan Siew Min, 17S63
Cover photo by: Ryan Ch’ng