Ever since Ang Chen Xiang stepped onto the IVP scene in 2014, save the pulled hamstring in his first year, it has been title after title, record after record. The national record holder won his first gold in 2015 and has held a stranglehold on the title and meet record (14.39s) since.

Ang has met the SEA Games nomination standard of 14.43s, and he and his coach, his younger brother Ding Hui, have bigger goals in mind – a SEA Games medal.

Nabin Parajuli’s first second IVP treble

Hat-tricks don’t grow old.

After Nabin Parajuli achieved his first IVP Track and Field treble in 2014 while representing Nanyang Polytechnic, he completed the treble again in his fifth IVP appearance. And his last one, “hopefully.”

“I wanted three golds, honestly,” said the Year 2 SIM student. Nabin topped the podium in the 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m and 10,000m.

Even though he returned from December’s ASEAN University Games with a bronze medal in the steeplechase, Nabin wasn’t entirely happy about the situation. The race played out in a tactical fashion, resulting in a time of 9:58.04, 15 seconds behind the leader and well off his PR.

The quick turnaround from the Games had Nabin adopting a more lax attitude towards this IVP, with the goal of “just having fun.”

But the IVP steeplechase record holder (9:37.65, 2018) is, as always, hungrier for faster times. SEA Games qualification is on Nabin’s mind (9:08.72 is the qualifying mark), but his immediate goals are to graduate on time, rest up and start a new block of training with the hopes of donning the national jersey on a bigger regional stage.

Nabin Parajuli completes the final part of his treble as he emerges victorious in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2019 IVP Track and Field Championships. (Jing Zhi Chua)

Tasty showdown in the 800m timed finals produces Tok Yin Pin’s first title

Nabin’s races presented an interesting rivalry between him and Karthic Ragupathy (he achieved the A-Division treble in 2012 and 2013 for cross country, steeplechase and 5,000m).

But the men’s 800m timed finals produced a mouth-watering showdown that had spectators eagerly timing each heat and competitors anxiously watching the clock for their rival heat.

The top contenders were narrowed down to Kiranraj S/O Suresh, Jasper Tan and Tok Yin Pin. The three had clashed before in last October’s SA Inter Club Championship, which was also a timed finals format. There, Yin Pin produced a solo effort that squeezed him into 2nd place between Kiran and Jasper.

At the IVP, Yin Pin had the advantage of planning his race strategy as he watched the first heat play out.

The group crossed the first lap in 62s, which saw Kiran and Jasper making a mad dash to the line in 2:03.32 and 2:03.56 after sitting in the middle of the pack for more than half of the race.

Yin Pin knew it was all in or nothing.

“I was nervous because I knew that Jasper, Kiran and I were around the same standard at the moment, so victory could go to anyone,” said the 2018 IVP bronze medalist.

Yin Pin took charge of the pace from the gun to clock a 57s opening lap, well ahead of what the first heat had achieved. He just had to hold it together until the line.

“I thought maybe my eyes deceived me and the 2:01 I saw was before I crossed the line,” the NUS Year 2 student said.

Yin Pin’s victory was confirmed by my friends and his coach swarming him with congratulations as he crouched on the track, doubled over in lactic surfacing in his legs.

Tok Yin Pin crouches on the side of the track after winning the 800m at the 2019 IVP Track and Field Championships. (Romaine Soh)

For Yin Pin, who only started competitive running at 17, his win came as a pleasant surprise. He made the school team the following year as the sixth and final runner, but fell just short of a medal at the national schools cross country meet.

After clocking 2:10 for the 800m and 4:45 for the 1,500m at time trials, he ran in the 5,000m at the 2014 national schools track and field meet. Yin Pin didn’t make it past the qualifying rounds, and to this day, refuses to watch that race video.

When his coach, Chu Seow Beng, proposed the switch to the middle distances, Yin Pin didn’t take him seriously.

“I thought it was a bit of a joke considering my performance back in JC,” he said.

“But after some time, I started to show better form for middle distance. I am glad that my coach managed to unearth some kind of potential in me that I never knew of.”

Tok Yin Pin solos his way to victory in the second heat of the 800m at the 2019 IVP Track and Field Championships. (Romaine Soh)

Vanessa Lee proves her versatility as she completes her first IVP treble

The IVP was the first time Vanessa had contested the 800m at a championship setting. She has the most race experience in the 5,000m, for which she won a bronze at last month’s ASEAN University Games, but the Year 2 NUS student wanted to prove her mettle in the 2-lap event.

As if a new event wasn’t exciting enough, Vanessa only had three hours between the 800m and the 5,000m. Would the lactic have worn off by then?

She posted a PB of 2:26.34 in the 800m, then employed a sit-and-kick approach in the 5,000m to rewrite her previous championship record with a time of 18:51.54. Her win in the 1,500m last week establishes her as the second treble medalist at this year’s IVP along with Nabin.

“I like to believe I’m a variety runner,” said Vanessa, who also owns the national junior record in the 3,000m steeplechase. “I don’t do the 800m often, so I wanted to run a PB.”

Vanessa Lee cruising her way to victory in the 5000m at the IVP Track and Field Championships. She won the 800m three hours earlier with a PB. (Jing Zhi Chua)

SEA Games represent, past and future, at the IVP

The ASEAN University Games was a nice confidence booster for Brian See as he came home with a silver medal in the shot put and PBs in both the shot and discus.

More importantly, he was just 19cm away from meeting the SEA Games qualifying mark of 44.8m. Meeting that at the IVP, his first meet of the year, would be nice.

Brian won the IVP with a toss of 43.95m, but it was far from what he wanted. Judging the landing place of his last fouled throw, he estimated that he had met the qualifying mark.

A week later, Brian hurled a PB and SEA Games qualifying mark of 45.65m at the SA Series 1 meet. A few hours later, he collected another shot put IVP gold and reset his own championship record (14.14m).

Also coming off from the ASEAN University Games were sprinters Khairyll Amri, Timothee Yap and Tan Zong Yang. Khairyll defended his 100m title (10.87s) while Timothee emerged victorious in the 200m (21.65s), also pulling his long-time training partner Zong Yang to a PB of 21.69s.

Both Timothee and Zong Yang met the SEA Games nomination standard of 21.69s.

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Full results of the 2019 IVP Track and Field Championships here.