SEREMBAN: NERISSA Spencer Dass is a champion sprinter, thanks to her elder brother Saswin Anthony who plays football for SMK Bukit Mewah in Seremban.
The 15-year-old Saswin coached Nerissa from Thursdays to Sundays for one to two hours for one month after her Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR).
As a result, Nerissa was awarded the best girls’ Under-12 athlete at SK Taman Rasah Jaya’s (SKTRJ) 18th Annual Athletics Championships recently.
She won gold medals in the Under-12 100m, 200m, 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m and a bronze in long jump under the guidance of teacher Abd Kadir Ismail.
Nerissa was unbeatable in both the sprints, finishing ahead of Mittra Harikaran and Tharishini Marimuthu who had to settle for two bronze medals.
Nerissa, whose ambition is to excel in athletics when she goes to secondary school next year, said: “Last year, I returned home with only silver medals in both sprint events.
“Since I was edged out of the gold medals by Mittra, I was pushed to train harder and focused more on speed since I am a tall girl.
“My brother Saswin raced with me during training. Before UPSR, I trained only on weekends and to build up my strength, I eat one boiled egg everyday.
“I am happy this year as even my younger sister Nimeesha, 10, took part in the girls’ Under-10 shot putt.”
Mittra said: “Athletics is a fun sport for me since I have many friends in school who love to compete.
“Nerissa, Tharishini and I have been friends for six years since we were in Year One.
“Last year, I brought home gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m gold.
“This year due to less practice, I won only silver in the 100m and 200m but took gold in the 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m alongside Nerissa as a Yellow House teammate.
“My mother (R. Samoondispari) and father (R. Harikaran) always watch me run during athletics meets and buy new sports clothing for me.
“They emphasise the importance of balancing both studies and sports.”
Tharishini said: “Last year I won bronze in the girls’ Under-11 100m and 200m as well as silver in the 4 x 100m, 4 x 200m and high jump.
“This year I won the girls’ Under-12 high jump gold, bronze medals in the 100m, and 200m bronze as well as silver in the 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m.
“I am happy to have won one gold medal this year under the guidance of Red House teachers Zuraida Ahmad and Anis Elma Abdul Razak.
“In March, Mittra and I represented SKTRJ at the MSSD Seremban 2 meet in the girls’ Under-12 100m, 200m, 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m in Paroi.
“In addition, I also competed in high jump.
“I play badminton at school and with friends in Taman Rasah Jaya to build my agility and speed like my idol, Usain Bolt.”
Meanwhile, Green House pipped Yellow House to the overall champions title with 193 points to 192 at the end of the meet.
Blue House finished third with 177 ahead of last placed Red House who accumulated only 118 points.