Lvy clears the barrier enroute to a new 2,000m steeplechase record at the Sarawak Inter-Division Schools Championships in Sarikei in March.
SIBU: Sixteen-year-old cross country runner Lvy Nayan Banyah aims to represent Sarawak in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase next March in the Johor Sukma.
She is not at all perturbed about the road blocks that lay ahead.
Her small stature is one. Standing at 153cm (5 ft) and weighing 39kg, the relative unknown Bintangor lass would prefer her petite size do the talking.
“She is hard working, disciplined and willing to make sacrifices to do what is best for her,” said coach Ahmad Mizuan who spotted her talent.
“Never mind her size. So long as she has the speed and the strength and power behind her limbs, she should be able to make it,” he added.
The Form Four student of SMK Bandar Bintangor has represented Sarawak in the MSSM National Schools Cross Country Championships for the past three years.
She finished 18th in the Under-15 race in 2018 and improved to 7th last year.
In early March this year she finally stood on the podium in third spot despite moving up to the Under-18 category.
However, her most memorable outing to date remains her debut at the 2019 Sibu Half Marathon (21km).
She lifted the Under-18 title in that race after beating more seasoned runners.
“The feeling was so great then and my performance inspired me to go for more,” she recalls.
She has since switched her focus to running distance events on the track.
At the 2nd Sarawak Games (Suksar) held in Miri at the end of last year, she won the 1,500m in 5min 32.3sec and the 3,000m steeplechase in 13min 18.8sec.
In March this year, Lvy scooped three gold medals and outclassed the field in the 1,500m (5:26.84), 3,000m (11:45.72) and 2,000m steeplechase (7:56.50) at the Sarawak Inter-Division Schools Track & Field Championships held in Sarikei.
She was selected to represent the state in the MSSM National Championships which was later called off due to the Movement Control Order (MCO).
She still has to cut down her winning times significantly before she can stand a chance to make headway in next year’s Sukma.
For example, the third placings in the 1,500m and 3,000m steeplechase at the 2018 Perak Sukma were 5:01.37 and 12:45.94 respectively.
Moreover, distance running has not been Sarawak’s forte in track and field for many years.
Sarawak state records for the women’s 1,500m, 3,000m and 5,000m are all held by Linda Chin set over 30 years ago.
And no Sarawakian woman has won a gold in distance events in recent editions of Sukma.
With the country now entering the Recovery MCO, Lvy wants to start training in earnest to pursue her Sukma dreams.
“I will eye for a podium finish to prove that size does not matter so long as one has the will and the determination to win,’ she said.