By Clement Tan/Red Sports, with additional reporting by Erwin Wong
National Stadium, Friday, April 28, 2017 — As she stood over the starting block amid the cacophony of screams, Elizabeth-Ann Tan looked straight ahead, arms akimbo, focused on the task at hand. There were the nerves, but she was mostly visualising the century sprint she’s about to run: the start that was always problematic for her, her shoulders, her arm swing, her stride rhythm.
The time Elizabeth had in mind: the 12.44 seconds she ran at a meet in Perth in March. She ran 12.71s in the semi-finals last week to break the electronically timed C Division girls record of 12.74s that Nur Izlyn Bte Zaini set in 2012 while representing Singapore Sports School. To go anywhere near 12.44s would mean bettering the 12.6s hand-timed record set in 1993 by Lim Joo Lee, then of Raffles Girls’ School.
“I was very, very nervous,” said Elizabeth, a Nanyang Girls’ High School secondary two student. “It was a bit more difficult to focus here than at Bishan Stadium because of the bigger crowd and the place, it’s quite scary though the adrenaline also pushed me along.”
She ended up crossing the finish line in the C girls 100m final in 12.41s, run with a slight tailwind of 0.1 metre/second. Teammate Bernice Liew, who finished second in a close 200m final last week, again claimed the silver in a personal best 12.72s. Both girls later combined to win gold for Nanyang Girls’ in the 4 by 100m relay.