Bishan Stadium, Thursday, April 14, 2016 — Jerome Boon of Raffles Institution (RI) made it two out of two when he clinched the A Division Boys’ pole vault gold at the 57th National Schools Track and Field Championships.
The RI Year 6 student, who won the gold last year with a 4.08 metres effort, set a new personal best this time round when he vaulted over 4.23m.
Yeo Teng Wei and Chan Jun Da, both of Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), came in second and third respectively. Both cleared 3.73m, with the former edging his teammate to the silver on countback.
While both Hwa Chong athletes failed at 3.93m on all three attempts, Jerome cleared it on his first attempt to secure the gold.
He then had the choice of setting the bar at 4.08m or 4.23m – he chose the latter in an attempt to break his previous personal best of 4.20m, set at the Singapore Athletics National U18/U20 Championships in March this year.
After failing on his first two vaults, he cleared it on his final attempt, to much relief.
On his performance, Jerome commented, “Generally I think my flow at the start was better. My trainings leading up to Nationals hadn’t been very good, like I hadn’t been clearing (good) heights. But at the first few starting heights, I managed to clear on the first attempt, so it was good, I had a flow going. When it came to my PB height (4.23m), it wasn’t very smooth – I only cleared it on my last attempt. It was quite pressurising.”
Subsequently, he set the bar higher at 4.43m but eventually failed on all three attempts.
“I’m happy that I won, but I was expecting a higher height. But it’s still a PB, nonetheless, so I’m still quite proud of myself,” he remarked.
Jerome also paid tribute to his teammates and fellow competitors, saying, “I just want to thank my training mates, they did well today too. I also want to congratulate all the other competitors out there, because I think a lot of them achieved their personal best today. It’s my last nationals, I didn’t really care about the placing, I just wanted to get a PB – so seeing everyone get a personal best and being happy, it’s all good.”
Jerome has been venturing into new territory this year, training for the 110m hurdles for the past two months as well. He will take part in the 110m hurdles event on Tuesday, April 19.
He acknowledged that training for the hurdles event might have shifted some of his focus off pole vault, but now with the pole vault gold in the bag, he is fully focused on getting into the 110m hurdles final to chip in with a few more points for his team’s overall title chase.
In last year’s championships, RI had lost the A Division Boys’ team title to HCI by a mere two points.
“Every point is crucial, so I’m glad that I could do my best. I won (the pole vault) last year, and got 9 points for the school, so that’s the best I could go. So I’m hoping that my hurdles next Tuesday will help Raffles get a few more points. I’ll do whatever I can to help the school, because our defeat last year wasn’t a very good feeling,” he added.
A Division Boys Pole Vault – Top 6
1st Jerome Boon Yan Heng (#132, Raffles Institution) — 4.23 metres
2nd Yeo Teng Wei (#275, Hwa Chong Institution) — 3.73
3rd Chan Jun Da (#241, Hwa Chong Institution) — 3.73
4th Amos Liew Yuheng (#186, Victoria JC) — 3.53
4th Larenz Chui Wai Kit (#257, Hwa Chong Institution) — 3.53
6th Thomas Tan Zheng Yu (#152, Raffles Institution) — 3.53