By Raj Kumar for Team Singapore website
Her name was not announced to the 80,000 capacity crowd at the Olympic Stadium, ahead of her debut at this international level. But you can assume that Dipna Lim Prasad was dreaming of one day hearing her name as one of the favorites or leading contenders in the Women’s 100m Hurdles. When you have more than 50 runners competing in the qualifying heats and to hear only a few names being mentioned on the Public Address system, it means that you have ‘finally arrived on that stage.’
Her personal best time of 14.23s is a national record. And the 21-year-old was pretty confident of breaking the national mark. When it came to Heat number 5, she was poised and eager to deliver. It didn’t matter that world champion Sally Pearson was running just next to her, because she had already experienced that in the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011. And once the starter’s gun went off, Dipna was off on her maiden run at the Olympic Games. Sally and the rest of the field seemed to be miles ahead of her. And in the end, our Singaporean hurdler did not finish last. Her time of 14.68s placed her 43rd out of 48 runners.
“I’m happy about my timing. It could have been better, but you know….I wasn’t nervous at the start. I knew what I had to do and it didn’t matter if it was 80, 800 or 8,000 people in the stadium. That’s just a number. I did say that I could have broken my record. But these things happen and you roll with it. I will now focus on the Asean University Games in December. And I will break my record soon,” expressed a determined Dipna.
“Well I think for her to be running against Sally Pearson, was certainly a little added pressure on her. But her seasonal best was good. I was expecting her to break the national record actually. On the whole thou, I’m satisfied with the performances of both GaryYeo and Dipna. We will continue to groom them along with Chin Hwee (4th in the SEA Games 400m in 2011). And together with our 4 x 100m team, we should have a pretty good campaign in Myanmar 2013. And then, we can look ahead to hosting the SEA Games in 2015 and then sending a much bigger squad for the 2016 Olympics,” stressed President of Singapore Athletic Association, Tang Weng Fei.
“She must have been overawed by the whole atmosphere. And being slated right next to the fastest hurdler on planet earth, I’m sure she has plenty of emotions going in. But with that said and considering all the circumstances, I think she did great,” said CDM Jessie Phua.