Updated: Sep 30, 2018
I have been actively involved with sports for 40 years. My adventure in sports has taken me to over 30 countries across 7 continents for regional games such as the Asean Schools’ Championships in Thailand to the world events like the London Olympics in 2012 . In my journey, I have personally encountered intriguing stories, witnessed dramatic incidents and experienced fascinating moments. These were heart-warming, humourous, controversial, disappointing and even outrageous encounters that need to be shared for good reasons. Hence, it gives me great pleasure to narrate to you some of these memorable events, some of which were life-changing.
1. There Is Hope
I was with the National Men Sprints and 4x100m Relay squad from 2010 – 2014. I quit the national set-up after the Incheon Asian Games in 2014. I felt demoralised and disappointed after watching the progress of the rival countries while we had remained stagnant. I lamented the fact that there were many unresolved issues in our system and could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The future of athletics in Singapore had look bleak and gloomy then.
All thanks to God and ActiveSg when I was sent on a Learning Journey to the USA Olympic Trials in July 2016 in Eugene, Oregon. My experience at the 12-day trip was both enriching and rewarding. Apart from having the opportunity to train and chat with legendary coaches, I was able to watch first-hand the way the coaches and athletes went about their trainings and competitions. I was also impressed with the high level of professionalism displayed by the organisers in running a top-class Meet. And more unforgettable was the chance to speak with some of these world class athletes.
Deep in my heart, I was pondering: if only Singapore had a really supportive system for the talents… if only the local coaches and athletes could train and compete like their counterparts in the USA… if only we have regular competitions with top athletes… if only… and if only… But there is hope. Through the experience, I could once again see hope in local athletics, for I have been to the land which is known worldwide as “The Cradle for Speed Training”.
2. A Case of Over-Focus?
It was the final of the 200m event. The competitors had done all they could to prepare for the race of their lives. Everything seemed to be normal at the Call Room. One of the favourites for the gold medal had cut a very serious facial expression throughout the day while mentally rehearsing her race plan. She thought to herself: I will win it today, it has got to be me.
Then they were marched to the startline. She was in her tracksuit as she set her block. The block start to 30m seemed right for her. The starter was about to commence the race. She removed her track top to reveal her stunning vest. But when she was attempting to remove her track bottom, she had a shock of her life. She had failed to put on her running shorts. She froze momentarily. How should she react to such an awkward situation? She requested for a delay but was turned down. But she was an intelligent and quick-thinking athlete. She folded her track pant up to knee level and ran the race. But alas! She could only finish 4th. It was a commendable effort despite the great setback prior to the race. A true and courageous sports person indeed!
3. Cheater Will Never Wins
The runners had lined up to start the Cross-Country race. It was an international field with some top-class athletes. The gun went off to signal the start. Without any delay, an unknown bearded runner took the lead and set a blistering pace. At the midway point, he was still at the forefront. Not bad for an unknown indeed. Would he then be able to spring a surprise to win the race and upset the favourites?
Midway through the race, he requested to leave the assigned route to relieve himself in the forested area nearby. When he re-appeared, he continued to run at an amazing pace and was the first to finish the race (or did he?). Well, believe it or not, someone had actually captured his image before and after had he relieved himself in the bush. And the result: he had a beard when he went in but it had strangely disappeared when he came back out. Through further investigation, it was revealed that his coach (who was a lookalike) had replaced him to help him finish the race!
Subsequently, he was stripped off the title and banned from competition for an indefinite period. An ingenious plan to cheat but the truth will always be revealed!