Diane wants to follow in Shanti's footsteps
Coach Oh sees similarities between Diane and SEA Games star sprinter
With four gold medals, Diane Hilary Pragasam was the most bemedalled athlete at this year's National Inter School Track and Field Championships.
And the 14-year-old is not about to rest on her laurels.
One day, the Singapore Sports School Sec 2 student hopes to emulate the achievements of her role model - 2015 SEA Games women's 200m winner Shanti Veronica Pereira, who managed the same four-gold feat in the 2010 and 2011 schools' championships.
Said Diane: "I don't intend to stop, because I have a passion for track and field. When you run, you feel the wind against your face. That's the feeling that keeps me going.
"Some people may feel stressed about the training, but I take it as a challenge, and I always believe that the hard work will pay off."
Diane's wins in the C Division 200m (26.78sec), 400m (1min 02.09sec), 4x100m (50.74) and 4x400m (4:19.18) events added to the Sports School's dominance on the track, with the school sweeping seven out of eight golds in the B and C Division relay events (boys' and girls' 4x100m and 4x400m).
Shanti's four golds in the C Division in 2010 came in the 100m (12.75), 200m (26.09), 4x100m (49.67) and 4x400m (4:13.41) events. In June, she powered her way to a SEA Games 200m gold in a national record of 23.60.
Both sprinters share the same coach, Margaret Oh, who sees similarities between them.
She said: "Diane's attitude is fantastic. Like Shanti, she has the drive and is always asking questions during training.
"When I correct her technique, she will take note and try to improve on it. This girl is a real fighter.
"She has a lot of potential to go further if she continues to train hard and keep improving."
Diane is so determined to improve that she watched her diet even during the school holidays.
She said: "I made sure I ate healthily when I was at home during the June holidays, so that I could maintain my speed during the holiday training. I didn't want to go back to school and lose my fitness."
Having a supportive family certainly helps. Her father played the role of her coach during her younger days.
She said: "My father would record my races and, every weekend, we would sit down together for an hour or two studying them, discussing where I went wrong, how I could improve.
"Before I entered the Sports School, I didn't have a proper coach, so he would take me to the parks to run on slopes to train my endurance."
"I think this support was one of the main reasons my timings got better. I wouldn't be where I am today without my family behind me."