Written by: Dragon Chew (17A14)
Photograph Credits: Pan Yanqi Quince (17A15)
From Left to Right: Weers Natasha Audrey (Captain, ‘A’ Division Girls), (16S7G), Benaiah Hoong Yong Qi, (Vice-Captain ‘B’ and ‘C’ Division Boys), (4I1), Dr Hon Chiew Weng (Principal, Hwa Chong Institution), Gerard Emmanuel Loh Kai-Jyn (Captain, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Division Boys) (4P2), Randall Choo Tian Xi (Captain, ‘A’ Division Boys), (16S7G), Ang Yong Siang, Alwin (Vice-Captain, ‘A’ Division Boys) (16S68)
With an astounding sweep of all four divisional championship titles, Hwa Chong’s Track and Field Team cemented their place in the annals of Singapore sporting history as quadruple champions for the second time since 2002. The ‘C’ Division Boys continued their golden streak of 17 years, while the ‘B’ Boys defended their title for the second consecutive year.
In the ‘A’ Division, both teams dug deep to surge ahead and reclaim their thrones. Spurred on by his schoolmates, Justyn Phoa (16S6E) also broke a 47 year-old record in the ‘A’ Division Boy’s Javelin held at Hwa Chong Institution’s School Field with an impressive throw of 59.06m.
For ‘A’ Division Boys Captain Randall Choo (16S7G), Hwa Chong’s triumph was a form of catharsis for the raw disappointment felt when the 2015 ‘B’ Division Boy’s title was narrowly lost. As he reflected, “We walked out of the stadium [then] vowing to come back stronger, and this mindset stayed fresh in my team all the way till this year’s Nationals.” For the team, rallying together after that setback and ending the 15 year-long wait for another historic quadruple title has been a surreal but memorable experience.
On the final day of the Championships, held at the National Stadium for the second successive year, the entire C1 cohort – along with students from the High School section – swarmed the stands to cheer on their schoolmates. The Hwa Chong spirit was stronger than ever with students, teachers and alumni raising their voice in unison to shake the stands with renditions of school cheers such as “Rock You” and “山歌”.
It is this strength of the Hwa Chong family that willed our athletes on to eventual success and bring glory to the school. Gerard Loh (4P2), Captain of the ‘B’ and ‘C’ Division Boys, commented, “The support can really make or break the spirit of an athlete and the support from the school never fails to boost our morale and confidence. We are extremely thankful for the strong support.”
Indeed, Track and Field is as much a psychological sport as it is a physical pursuit; it is in equal parts marathon and sprint; and the team is as prized as the individual. Considering this, a highly memorable race was the ‘A’ Division Girl’s 4x400m relay, in which Hwa Chong was back in third but anchor Audrey Sarah Tan (16S6D) persevered in the last 50 metres to clinch second, edging out her competitors by split seconds. The team spirit and camaraderie was palpable when Audrey’s teammates in the stands huddled together and shed tears of jubilation.
Chairperson of the Students’ Council’s Co-Curricular Activities Committee (ECACO) Gao Yiting (17S71) also enthused, “I am delighted for our athletes for I have witnessed their determination and tenacity just by watching them from the stands. This is truly a collective victory for all of us Hwa Chongians.”
Reflecting on their exploits this year, Captain of the ‘A’ Division Girls Natasha Weers (16S7G) mused, “The high expectations that people will have may seem daunting, but I hope this year’s success gives the following batches confidence knowing that we can achieve such a feat.” May the Track and Field Team remain on course for its ceaseless pursuit of excellence!
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