Jacob Lee, Abhinav Iyer, and Stefan Kingsley have never run a relay or even participated in an official track meet before. When these SAS students competed in the Nov. 9 National Singapore Games Track and Field competition, they didn’t expect a second place medal against the Singapore Sports School. From amateur runners to successful athletes, the group of three running with senior Gabriel Goh realized that teamwork was crucial in the 4x100m race.
“I used to run in middle school, but I quit in high school. I came to this track meet not expecting anything. But now, I’m leaving the second place podium with a silver medal around my neck and a paycheck in my hand. It was a good day,” Iyer said after the meet.
The all-senior team consisted of Goh at the starting blocks, Iyer and Lee cruising the middle of the length, and Kingsley sprinting past the finish line. With a strong start and a photo finish, this team successfully beat the third place team with a bold dive by Kingsley as he crossed the finish line, surpassing his opponent by a mere millisecond.
Goh formed this makeshift relay team only two weeks before the competition. None of the athletes had any idea they would create an unstoppable force. With only one relay practice a week before the games, it is a victory in itself that the team successfully handed off the baton to each other without fail.
“We aren’t amazing individually, but together, we make a good team, if not the winning team,” Iyer said. The four guys came from different backgrounds in sports, but clearly, together they have potential.
The athletes ran the 100m the day before. Kingsley and Iyer did not pass through preliminaries, but Lee and Goh competed at the finals. Lee came in seventh and Goh came in fourth. Although they did not perform at their best during the 100m, it was clearly not a foreshadowing for the 4x100m race to come.
This race has changed the ambitions of all of these athletes. Iyer ran track in middle school but left the sport behind as he entered high school. Determined to make a comeback, he plans to join varsity track in his final year. Lee is currently on the varsity rugby team, but still looks forward to the track season next year. Kingsley, varsity tennis captain, has dedicated his life to tennis but now has the same determination to succeed in track.
“After getting silver, I realized that I had potential. As soon as I went back home, I bought new spikes shoes online in anticipation for the track season,” said Lee.
Along with the silver medals, the team was awarded a consolation prize of $200. But it wasn’t just medals and money that were won that day. In fact, the team received a congratulatory handshake from Sergey Bubka, former Ukrainian pole-vaulter who held the world record for 21 years. “It was an honor to meet him. Although I’ll never pole vault, he is an example for dedication and hard work,” Kingsley said after meeting Bubka.
The team is looking to the future and getting ready for the Series 5 Track and Field meet in December and IASAS Track and Field Singapore 2015. They might even start practicing more than a week before the event.