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Resolute Roxanne

June 3, 2013 - 12:58am

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SHE HAD feared the worst last August when doctors found stress fractures on her back, which threatened to end her short track and field school career.

But that didn’t stop Roxanne Enriquez from believing.

It was the longest nine months of her life as the 17-year-old permanent resident went through four months of rehabilitation and recovered to deliver a silver medal in the B Division girls’ long jump at the 54th National Inter-School Track & Field Championships last month.

It was an unexpected reward for the CHIJ Katong Convent Secondary 3 student, who had to be hospitalised after she collapsed upon completing the 100m sprint at her school’s sports day last August.

After some checks and X-rays, doctors discovered the fractures on Roxanne’s back, which made sitting for long periods difficult.

The pain was so excruciating that even painkillers didn’t help.

Add to that the mental trauma when her mother, Ann, considered pulling her out from the track and field team that Roxanne had fought so hard to be part of.

The tears welled up in her eyes as the usually bubbly girl recalled the harrowing experience.

“At the time, I was shocked and really scared. I was thinking if I could still continue,” said Roxanne, who started school at Primary 3 at age 11 when she moved to Singapore from the Philippines in 2007.

“My mum said that she might stop me from doing the sport, but I didn’t want to stop because it’s my passion and I enjoy doing this sport a lot.

“The doctors said that the cracks could have been there since I was born.

“They found out that was the case and they told me that I should be careful.”

While she was given the green light to carry on with track and field after undergoing physiotherapy, it was still a long road to recovery for the youngster.

When she couldn’t train, the vice-captain for her school’s track and field team still turned up for training sessions to watch her teammates.

It was her determination and the support from her teammates, teachers and coach that helped her make a comeback at the Inter-School Track & Field championships, where she took part in the B Division girls’ 100m and long jump events.

After failing to progress further than the semi-finals of the 100m, Roxanne targeted a top-eight finish in the long jump.

Recording a 4.96-metre leap on her first attempt, she dismissed her chances of winning as she could not better that distance in her remaining tries.

So when her tag number was read out as the runner-up, the lanky schoolgirl could not believe her ears.

Roxanne said: “It’s my biggest achievement so far. I’ve always wondered what it was like standing on the podium and when I would get my chance.

“When they announced my name and school, I felt really proud because I had brought glory to the school.

“My school took me in on a DSA (Direct School Admission) even though I didn’t have a track and field background, so I’m very happy to have repaid their faith in me.”

Away from the track, Roxanne is also a school councillor.

Her school’s track and field teacher-in-charge Winston Chiang sums up her character best, saying: “Roxanne’s determination, strength and fighting spirit have helped her persevere with the challenge she faced and she’s a great model to all of us who want to be better in what we do.”

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