An Unforgettable Celebration

by Steffi Tan (P5 2021)
                “Ah! It’s 11.15 already. I need to get ready for the marathon award ceremony!” Asha cried. Her face creased up and she started to run all over the house to get ready. “I’m going to be late!” Asha had taken part in the Standard Charted Singapore Marathon. At the end of each marathon, the judge would announce the winner a week later. Asha quickly jumped into her shoes and dashed out of the door. She hopped onto her bicycle and pedalled as fast as her legs would go towards the community centre where the award ceremony would take place. Asha was bursting with curiosity because she was not sure what place she would be in. “First place… second place… third place? What if I don’t get the first three places? What if I get last place?” All of these thoughts raced through her mind as she cycled towards the community centre.


                Thankfully, Asha reached there in the nick of time. She rushed to the back of the stage where two athletes were standing apart from the rest of the other athletes. “They must be the first, second or third place athletes,” Asha thought, her hands clammy from nervousness. Asha felt lost in that unfamiliar place.


                Suddenly, a man wearing a smart suit introduced himself, “Hello there, you must be Asha Tan, the last athlete to arrive. I am Mr Lee, an usher. You are one of the top three athletes, please come this way,” Mr Lee shared while showing Asha the way. “This is John and Sahra, the other first, second or third place athletes. You will all wait here.”


                As the emcee was getting ready to announce the winners, Asha felt butterflies in her stomach. Her heart was beating at almost 100mph while her legs were shaking like jelly, Asha had no idea what place she would end up in.


                Suddenly, a loud voice screeched over the microphone, “Good morning, everybody. As you all know, today we are gathered here to celebrate the top athletes from last week’s marathon. I shall now announce the winners. In third place is… Sahra! In second place is… Asha! In first place is… John!” The audience erupted into applause. Cheers could be heard from every corner of the community centre.


                “Huh? Shouldn’t Asha be in first place? I’m sure I saw her cross the finishing line just before John,” Sahra thought with frown lines etched on her forehead. “I’d better tell the judges just in case.”


                After Sahra informed the judges of her observations, they quickly flipped through their notes and re-watched the footage from that day on their computer. The judges immediately realised the wrong name had been written on the card! Without hesitation, the judges whispered into the emcee’s ears that there had been a mistake and told him who the real winner should be. There were murmurs of questions from every corner of the community centre.


                “Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to inform you that there has been a mistake.” A ripple of murmurs travelled across the room. “The real winner of the marathon is… Asha! John came in second and Sahra came in third.” The crowd threw their hands up in the air and their faces lit up. Then, some waiters brought out trays of snacks and drinks for everyone to celebrate. Asha thanked Sahra for speaking up and correcting the judges’ error. Asha bowed her head in gratitude and her eyes shone.


                After that memorable celebration, Asha thought that she would not forget the awards ceremony so soon. After all, it was very rare for judges to make that sort of mistake.


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