ACS (I)'s 400m record-breaker Joshua's a rising star

ACS (I) sprinter a star in the making after another gold and record

"It's been quite a pressurising few months in the lead-up to this, but I accomplished what I came here to do." - Joshua Lim (near left, leading the race ahead of second-placed Mohammad Irfan Qabeel)

He ruled the event in the National Schools' C Division track and field championships, winning gold in the Boys' 400m in 2014.

Anglo-Chinese School's (Independent) Joshua Lim stormed to gold in the event in the B Division competition last year and, yesterday, he stamped his authority in Singapore schoolboys' 400m sprinting when he posted a new record of 49.24sec at the Bishan Stadium to make it a hat-trick of titles.

The 16-year-old bettered the previous record of 49.75 set by Singapore Sports School's Jamie Ross Coates in 2008.

"It's been quite a pressurising few months in the lead-up to this, but I accomplished what I came here to do," said Joshua, who also holds the C Division record (51.65).

"Every record is special; breaking them is about overcoming your barriers physically, and that's when you take on a whole new level."

The Secondary 4 student started and finished the race strongly, seeing off his closest competitor - Sports School's Mohammad Irfan Qabeel (51.29) - by more than two seconds.

VICTORY CRY

After crossing the finish line, a breathless Joshua sank to his knees and pointed to the sky, giving thanks with a victory cry.

"I was a bit anxious as I've been preparing for this moment for quite a while," he told The New Paper later.

"But, when I was on my blocks, I knew the target was to break the record and that was what I focused on during the race."

Joshua admitted that fatigue had set in towards the end, but said his faith and preparation pulled him through.

"It was one of the best races I've ever run but, in the 400 metres, you're mostly unconscious throughout, so it's a bit difficult to focus on your running style," he said.

"On the back straight, I wasn't thinking too much; I was prepping myself for the last 200 metres where it was every man for himself.

"I was beginning to tire, but I just put every bit of effort I had left into the last stretch."

ACS (I) head coach Tang Ngai Kin praised Joshua for coming through challenging conditions.

"There was a strong headwind on the home straight and near the end there was a backwind," the former Singapore track star said.

"But, it was no problem because nature is nature, so we don't give excuses; on the whole, he completed a very good run."

Tang refused to pin unnecessary expectations on the 400m champion, after his impressive time.

"Ever since he was in ACS (Primary), we recognised him as a natural talent, as you must have very good running mechanics to run the 400 metres," he said.

"He's already in Year 4, so we'll let him decide what he wants to do; everybody can dream, but his legs will do the talking."

Joshua is "most definitely" keen on breaking the A Division 400m record of 48.69 - set two years ago by Anglo-Chinese Junior College's Muncherji Zubin Percy.

"I discovered that I had a talent in Primary 4 and, from a very early stage, I understood that track and field was more than just about medals," he said.

"It's a great win for me and my teammates, and a victorious day for ACS (I)."


400M results

C Div Girls' final

1. Apeland Keira Mingan (CHIJ Katong Convent) - 1min 03.44sec
2. Phoebe Angeline Law (Nanyang Girls' High School) - 1:04.36
3. Liu Jingyi (CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School) - 1:05.68

C Div Boys' final

1. Kyes Gaffoor (St Joseph's Institution) - 55.81sec
2. Samuel Lee (Catholic High) - 56.22
3. Bryan Lam (Hwa Chong Institution) - 56.40

B Div Girls' final

1. Diane Hilary Pragasam (Singapore Sports School) - 1:01.44
2. Abigail Louise Tan (CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School) - 1:01.90
3. Addeen Idzni Imran (Singapore Sports School) - 1:03.01

B Div Boys' final

1. Joshua Lim (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) - 49.24
2. Mohammad Irfan Qabeel (Singapore Sports School) - 51.29
3. Irving Alexander de Boer (Hwa Chong Institution) - 51.57

A Div Girls' final

1. Pan Xin-Min (Hwa Chong Institution) - 1:01.52
2. Celeste Goh (Singapore Sports School) - 1:01.72
3. Sharon Tan (National Junior College) - 1:03.73

A Div Boys' final

1. Ow Yeong Wen Bin (Hwa Chong Institution) - 50.11
2. Dinesh Hulbert Anthony Lawrence (St Andrew's Junior College) - 50.84
3. Mark Llewellyn Lim (Raffles Institution) - 52.25

Story Of Life should shed his maiden status

SOUTH AFRICA RACES

Premium content not available

Court Case can win in race 3

LARRY FOLEY’S COMMENTS ON TODAY’S KRANJI POLYTRACK MEETING

"Just fair last start but gets blinkerspacifiers and trials suggest he improves with the gear. " - Larry Foley, on his best bet, the grey Court Case (right)
Premium content not available

Cairo, Super Six bear watching

TIGHT HOLD: Cairo (inside) finishes second to Davide in Trial 2 at Kranji yesterday morning despite being kept on a tight rein by jockey Oscar Chavez. Best Tothelign (outside) runs third.
SECOND WIND: Super Six (red cap) rallies back to run second to Saffir in Trial 3. Choppin’s Nocturne (outside) gets third, with Lim’s Elusive (rails) fourth.
Premium content not available

KRANJI & IPOH TRACKWORK

Premium content not available

'Horrible and horrific'

Toffees boss Martinez wants to repay 
fans with better performance in FA Cup 
semi-final after horror show against Reds

Premium content not available
Tags: sport, Football, epl and everton

Klopp is tops with the Kop, says Gary Lim

He may be the Normal One, but there's nothing normal about Liverpool's turnaround

ANFIELD ANNIHILATION: Klopp (top centre) tastes victory in his first Merseyside Derby, with goals from (anti-clockwise from left) Origi, Sakho, Sturridge and Coutinho.

LIVERPOOL 4

(Divock Origi 43, Mamadou Sakho 45+2, Daniel Sturridge 61, Philippe Coutinho 76)

EVERTON 0

Juergen Klopp is the maverick who continues to play the fool.

He gestures wildly on the touchline one moment, then breaks into a guffaw the next.

He hops up and down like he has ants in his pants, before his mood suddenly changes and he flashes a silly grin.

He ignores all etiquette in the technical area and periodically disregards protocol on live television with his liberal use of the English language.

But, between his many moments of madness, he's also making Liverpool click.

He has the Kop gushing over the team again, like the old days.

The Klopp effect is beginning to set and Anfield is buzzing once more.

Yesterday morning (Singapore time), the love affair moved to a new level.

In his first Merseyside Derby, the German masterminded a resounding 4-0 win over their bitterest rivals.

It took his predecessor Brendan Rodgers four attempts before he tasted his first and only win over Everton.

In his first clash with Everton, Klopp's Liverpool pulverised the Toffees with goals by Divock Origi, Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.

They peppered the opponents with 37 shots, of which 13 were on target.

They had 67 per cent of possession, and drew nine saves out of 
Toffees goalkeeper Joel Robles.

In reply, Roberto Martinez's men, who had defender Ramiro Funes Mori sent off in the 50th minute - the match was all but lost by then - could muster just three off-target shots.

In the space of half a year, Klopp has forged a character in the Liverpool team that is barely recognisable from the wishy-washy fare they produced in the final months of Rodgers' reign.

TRANSFORMATION

The German has transformed an average side with one or two stars into an outfit capable of competing in every competition.

Despite the chaos left behind by Rodgers, the 48-year-old Klopp has already chiselled out a spot for Liverpool in the trophy-winning business.

He took them to within a penalty shoot-out of a League Cup triumph, masterminded an impressive Premiership double (both by three-goal margins) over Manchester City, and pulled off one of the club's greatest European nights by coming back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to defeat formidable Borussia Dortmund 4-3 in the Europa League quarter-final second leg at Anfield last week.

When he took over the team last October, the Reds were among the most goal-shy sides in the English top flight, with a tally of eight goals in eight league matches.

Since the start of 2016, no Premier League team have scored more than the 34 goals they have netted.

Remarkably, Klopp has done all this by using pretty much the same set of players he inherited.

James Milner, whose 11 assists in all competitions this year are more than that of any other Premiership player, has shown his attacking qualities after being given the freedom to express himself.

Midfielder Adam Lallana's new-found consistency is why he is experiencing his best spell in a Liverpool shirt since moving from Southampton two years ago.

Klopp also had the foresight recently to turn young Origi into his first-choice striker and the reward has been a return of five goals in his last five outings.

Even the previous hopeless defending has come good.

Dejan Lovren's initial struggles have been forgotten on the back of some excellent displays in the heart of the backline.

His defensive partner Sakho has put in heroic performances in recent weeks to cement his status as an unlikely Kop hero.

Klopp's outfit may lack the individual brilliance that the likes of Man City and Arsenal possess.

But the collective will, fostered by an ever-growing belief in the camp, is turning them into a force to be reckoned with.

With just five matches remaining, a Premiership top-four finish looks unlikely.

Yet, the relentless momentum they are currently on will ensure they are capable of capitalising on any slip-ups by their rivals.

There is, however, another ticket into next season's Champions League.

Next Friday morning, they meet Villarreal in the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals.

Win the competition and they get a free pass to the Champions League.

The red half of Merseyside has confidence coursing through their veins.

There may be method in Klopp's madness after all.

You need to have a little bit of luck with injuries. Consistency is about having players ready for the next game. Consistency comes with working together. We can’t do a lot of things like you usually do in three weeks; we need six-anda- half months.

— Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp, who feels he has not yet found the magic formula

The manager’s style is a bit more second nature than it was a few months ago. We know how he wants to play and everyone is on the same page. You can see that in the performances.

— Reds midfielder James Milner, on getting used to Klopp’s style

Pages