Blog posts are meant to be personal, so I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I’ve never been in Sports during my primary school days, and even when I was in secondary school, my main ECA was NPCC, and I only played football occasionally and took part in school sports day.
It was the school sports day that made me realise my potential in sprinting. Late Mr Saifuddin, my PE teacher back then, had faith in me and encouraged me to start sprinting in my tertiary days. And so I took his advice. That’s where I met Mr Melvin Tan, my first and only coach that brought me to who I am today.
For my first proper Athletics training, I brought only a pair of spikes and walked to the stadium in my Teva sandals. Mr Tan was surprised that I came without my running shoes, but was fast to react: “Please warm up in the field barefoot”. I still remember my seniors in Temasek Poly were having bets saying I won’t last more than 2 weeks in the team. I didn’t leave after 2 weeks, I stayed on and became the vice captain and captain for the next 2 years in Temasek Poly.
Life was tough managing studies and training. The long travelling hours to school and back home did not help much. Naturally my academic results weren’t fantastic, but I was so committed to Athletics, I’d rather spend my time training till I was deadbeat, than reach home early to study.
My hard work paid off in my 2nd year of Poly. I was invited to run an invitational race for the top 6 to represent in the 2001 SEA Games in KL. I came in joint 4th with Yusof Alias, with a timing of 10.8s. But due to my lack of experience, I was rejected by the relay team, and was not even in the reserves list.
I continued to work hard, and managed to represent Singapore in the SEA Games 2005 and 2007. My last competition in the National team was in Korat SEA Games 2007, which was also my proudest moment as a coach! Out of the six 4x100m relay runners, I coached 4 athletes including myself. They were Calvin Kang, Yusof Azhari, Shameer Ayub and myself. I also coached Shalindran, the 400m representative, who was running 49.3s that year.
I also had several commitments during that period - I sang for weddings, studied for my part-time sports science degree, coached schools, worked as a Assistant Centre Manager in Gombak Stadium and also trained at the same time. It was really fulfilling, but definitely not feasible to be so busy as an athlete. I decided to stop training competitively, and instead contribute to the athletics fraternity by coaching and nurturing more younger athletes. I wanted to pass on my experience from overseas exposure, and right values I leant from my coach.
Everyone takes a different journey, and this is the story of how I discovered my passion, and turned my hobby into my career.
What’s your story?
- Coach Alfred