Thursday, June 23, 2016

Singapore Sports Award 2016

By Rameshon

The 28th SEA Games marathon was held in Singapore, in 7 June 2016, Sunday, at 6am. After about 5.5km mark into the race, another fellow local runner by the name of Soh Rui Yong and a number of foreign athletes ran the wrong route, although they were briefed beforehand about the correct route. As Ashley came to find out that the runners going towards the wrong direction, he waited for these fellow runners patiently so that they could come back to the correct course so that the race could be run in a fair manner. Ashley had a 50m advantage but he allowed the fairness to take place, such that there was no advantage taken in the race. (It is also time that our race organisers could reflect on this and do corrective measure such that this does not take place again). 

Special Award given by Guest of Honour Mr Tan Chuan-Jin (left)

I also watched the race as Ashley could have used the situation to his advantage and may have landed with a medal, with unfair advantage. Seeing this brave act of wanting fairness, Ashley thought about sportsmanship like behaviour first and not to win medals by using unfair advantage. 

This action of sportsmanship made our own Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, to praise Ashley for his sportsmanship act in his SEA Games speech. 

Dr Kelvin, Mr Chris Chan & Myself (Left to Right) 
Secretary General Chris Chan also was impressed with Ashley's act of not taking unfair advantage. We met him during the dinner and took a photo with him. 

Dr Kelvin Ng and I were there at the Singapore Sports Award 2016 ceremony. On behalf of Ashley, as he was still in overseas, I went up on behalf of him to collect this award. What was so special about this award was that it was one of the two special awards given out and it was given towards the last part of the award, the grand finale for us. There is stringent criteria to attain this award. I had vegetarian dinner there at Swissotel Stamford, with Dr Kelvin, Ashley Liew's chiropractor. We left at 10 40pm.

Certificate awarded to Ashley

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Time that Singapore have coaches like George Gandy in Singapore

By Rameshon

Going Loughborough University was one of the best decision in life 

When I was about to go and study at Loughborough University of Technology, England, between 1992 to 1994, specialising on Physical Education and Sports Science, there were some lecturers who were encouraging me to go study there. Out of the lecturers in the former College of Physical Education, only one lecturer by the name of C. Kunalan came to me to suggest strongly that I should not go to Loughborough University to study and he told me to go to an American university instead. I respected Mr Kunalan's advice, but eventually I felt that Mr John Sproule's suggestion was better. I went ahead to study at Loughborough University. My decision went unhampered although some friends were also discouraging me. 

Looking back, at my running career, even before going to Loughborough, I did 15m 31sec for 5km race in Singapore Open 1992, and 2hr 30min for California Marathon 1990, which was famous for all the way gradual downhill course, from start to finish. (My sincere advise to runners is to go to this marathon and you will have a great chance of getting a very good personal best time as the terrain is excellent for getting a fast time, as it is all downhill). At that time, my 10km time was 32min 42sec done in year 1992. 

Within 7 months of my arrival in England, I took part in three league One National Cross Country Championships, representing Loughborough University. There were other cross country leagues going on in other parts of England as well. In league Two race of National Cross Country Championships, the best runner was in fact able to do a 2hr 12min timing for the marathon race. The runners were amazing and impressive. I hope that in Singapore we can have these kind of leagues. Many clubs were taking part. 

In fact, in the first race of the league One, i was 66 position and I underestimated the runners. My time was very good, but I did not like the position, although, in Singapore I was the fastest runner for 5km to the marathon race. Later on, I realised that in one of the 10km cross-country run, nearly all runners, about 90 in total, were able to do a sub-34min. It was hard to see a 35min and above runner there. I had to really work very hard from start to finish throughout the race. 

In our university, by training under the wings of George Gandy, who was later ordained by the Queen of England and is now called Sir George Gandy, at Loughborough University, I was also training with my own personal coach, Alan Guilder, on days where the University does not have any training. Earlier, Alan was taken as a training partner by me at first. Over time, knowing that he has done a 13m 32min for 5km, I decided to take him as a coach, after listening to my friend called Tim Dickenson, who was our cross county captain at that time. 

My university study was actually fully funded by my own savings and from my parents' savings. Within 7 months, I did 31min 46sec for 10km. During the week before doing 31m 46sec personal best time, I had to sit for 5 tests and the test were all not that easy and I had to study extra hard and tone down the mileage a lot. In the third cross country league race, which was the finally one, I found myself about 100m away from Gorden, a Scottish runner, who had a time of 14m 47sec for 5km. He was also Scotland best junior runner for long distance running, at that time. 

My two year study at Loughborough was quick and was also filled with test and assignments, projects and research work. (I took up research on heart rate as my supervisor found that there were no research been written much about heart rate in running, at that time). When it comes to running, one day, I was at the Loughborough Athletics Club to look at George Gandy's training schedule for the university athletes. Talking to him, I found that he was a very knowledgeable person who do altitude training projects and it has benefitted athletes in England. The handwriting of George Gandy's training programme was not neat but it was all done with excellent planning, which had technology behind it and it was supported by research. 

Many runners excelled in running in Loughborough University because of George Gandy. Lord Sebastian Coe, the president of IAAF have praised George Gandy's Loughborough Circuit in his book for assisting him to break 4 world records in 41 days (800m, 1000m, 1500m 1600m). 

Sir George Gandy was also the Head Coach of England middle and long distance team, when I was studying there. 

One day, when I was at the Loughborough Athletics Club room, I happened to see the running times of runners aiming to qualify in races between 1500m and 5km races. I realised that in order to go for World Student (University) Games one must qualify for the time. for 1500m, I realised one got to do 3min 46sec to qualify. For 5km the time was about sub-14min. Immediately, something made me to write back to Rina, a former admin manager for the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association on the dismal state of Singapore Athletics. I did not get any reply.  

I wrote that there were a lot of middle distance runners in Loughborough University. That was year 1992. I found that the slowest middle runner for 1500m was doing 3min 53sec. At that time, the fastest runners in Singapore were M. Maran and Saravanan and their times were 3min 53sec. I wrote to her that athletes were giggling about the Singapore's best time, at that time, and I told her that  athletes there asked me why the times were very slow. They were my good friends and showed a lot of respect towards fellow runners and they were very curious about Singapore's slow time. Some of the Loughborough Athletics middle and long distance runners became subjects in my research studies, for my degree course. 

Over time, I realised that most of the coaches in England were well versed in Sports Science. In Singapore many of the coaches only have basic sports science. When i did IAAF level one course I realised that many have not done the basic sports science yet. I feel that it is important to have basic sports science before doing the IAAF coaching course. 

In Loughborough I also saw Paula Radcliffe, current world record holder doing her workouts. The training programme which were scientific. 

Hence, I feel that it is important that coaches like George Gandy presence in Singapore would, may be, be an asset to Singapore. Loughborough is known as the Mecca or running in England. Using George Gandy training principal and technology, I was able to assist, over time, in Singapore, 13 athletes to obtain sub-3hours time for the marathon, in my own life, so far. Looking at our 1500m to 10km race time that is going on in the university, I feel that the timings for Singapore's long distance races have not improve and we need a knowledgeable coach to assist runners in Singapore. It is time that Singapore look for coaches with excellent Sports Science back ground, especially at least having a degree, and to develop the runners in Singapore. George Gandy was also good in Physiology and he was my athletics lecturer for Sports Technology. It was through him that we learnt the blue print on how top Olympians train for middle and long distance races. There are plenty of coaches with very good knowledge in coaching in England, USA, Europe, Kenya, etc that we can consider.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Calling all 4hours plus marathon runners - Waiting is a waste of time

By Saranniya

From no experience of running a marathon, Dr Ansgar has done 3hr 08min within 1 1/2years of training

In our group, at present, there are several athletes with sub- 3hours timing for the marathon. As an aspiring female athlete, I am amazed to see this in our group and I feel honoured in mixing with these runners.

We have Ashley Liew who has done a 2hr 32min for New Orleans Marathon, year before last year. He is our front runner. He is the top in the league, just few minutes away from our coach, Coach Rameshon's marathon time of 2hr 24min 22sec. We are hoping that Ashley will go for Olympics in  future and break the national record for the marathon set by Coach Rameshon, himself.

Few weeks from now, or in the future, I will write in detail on all the athletes with sub-3hours. Right now, we have Mr Evan Chee, who will be taking part in the Sundown Marathon, tomorrow, although a number of them, in the group are running in Chicago Marathon 2016. There are confirmed 5 athletes who are running, in total.

For 40/50 years and above age category, we do have Mr Erich, Dr Ansgar, and Coach Rameshon who are capable of doing sub-3hours this year. Whether they will be running in the Standard Chartered Marathon 2016 or not, it is left to their decision. For now, many in Flexifitness and other running groups, plus Singaporeans as a whole, would like running overseas, as opposed to running in Singapore.

Recently, I have heard myself from some runners asking for Coach Rameshon just to help them do a sub- 4hours for the marathon. As I have seen for the past 4 1/2 years that I have been training with Coach Rameshon, I have done my best by coming in 2nd in National Schools' Cross - Country Championships 2015. In the past, to tell you the truth, I was an absolute non-runner in the past. In my experience, all athletes who trained up for it in the group have attained it.

For me, it was a sad thing to hear that about 5 of the athletes who have joined us are, after so many years of training, not able to do the sub-4hours. They did all their best to do it but it was of no help. Upon being tested, it was found by Coach Rameshon that the runners have made some controllable mistake in the methodology and some by running with wrong technique and posture of running. Some have got injuries because of poor technique.

Within 1 1/2 years, Dr Ansgar Cheng, 50, a dentist by profession, has done just two marathons and have done a 3hr 35min in Stanchart Marathon 2015, before doing a 3hours 08min in 5 weeks for the Hong Kong Marathon 2016.

It is in the hope that those aiming for sub-4hours, in not delaying the target time too long that I am inviting these aspiring athletes to aim to go for group training session with us or do personal training with us too expedite your performance. However, at first, you should give yourself 3 years and below time to do own training to attain the sub-4 hours for the marathon. Time and tide waits for no man!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng - A Podium Finish for 5000m Asian Masters Track and Field Championships 2016

By Rameshon

Dr Ansgar Cheng - One of the heroes of Flexifitness and for Specialist Dental Group as well. 

The counterman is Dr Ansgar Cheng (with red singlet)

It is interesting to find out on how I got to know Dr Ansgar Cheng, 50, a dentist by profession, from Specialist Dental Group. From my memory, it was about one and a half year ago that he joined Flexifitness. His wife, Moonlake, was a very supportive person to his running passion. As a coach for Dr Ansgar, I am in fact his fan as well, as I like the courage that he shows during a race. 

Dr Ansgar with 2 medals, from 5000m (1st) and 4 x 400m (3rd)

While I was having a running group, he came to me and ask, "Do you think that I can do my personal best time for 5000m?." I was asking him on what his time was in the past. He told me that he has done a 18m 30sec, around there.

Colin Chua (left) and Evan Chee, came to see Dr Ansgar's race, after their 5000m race. 
Immediately, I felt that he was trying to fool around with me. I was puzzled. I knew that he was a dentist and it was not easy to do this kind of time. I gave him a strategic answer, " So long you dedicate your time, why not!". It was only then that Dr Ansgar started training like 'The Rocky' movie's hero Rocky Balbao. I think all he wanted was an answer 'can'. I was thinking, that is going to be a mammoth task for him to get a time that was done when one was 18 years of age, in the first place.

Dr Ansgar, is meticulous about running technique and posture in running

It was very surprising for me to see that this gentleman who was going for it at the age of 48 years old plus, now.

Over time, in the running programme, I found that his 5km time was about 20min and the 10km time was 42min plus, as I can remember. At first, he used to run too fast at the start and then fade away towards the end. Actually, in that situation, he doesn't really fade away but he will do a very slow progressive time, which was trivial for me. Over time, heeding to our wisdom to take it easy at the early part of the run, and reserve his strength towards the end, it was then that Dr Ansgar started doing timings that were amazing and remendous.

He became a role model, over time, here for young kids as he gives his 100% and nothing less, in front of everyone, in a daring manner. His time for half-marathon improved from 1hr 35min plus to a 1hr 32min, subsequently, going to 1hr 28min, after several months of running continuously. Recently, he did a 1hr 24min for the half-marathon race, where the elaboration of the race details will be mentioned in an interview with him, late on in another blog post.

Moonlake (right) came to support Dr Ansgar for all the runs
Ansgar, brought his 5km time back to 18m 30sec over time and the time was stuck there for sometime. Also, for 1km all out time trial he did a 2min 50sec. With this he did a 3hr 35min for Standard Chartered Marathon, December,  2015, before doing a 3hr 08min, in Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon 2016, February.

In a number of 10km races, he was put in Men Open category, instead of being registered into the veteran category, and he still has been coming in top 10 position. usually. His wife Moonlake also. at the same time, takes part in the same race or she will support by photographing him in the race and supporting him in the race. Moonlake is an excellent supporter for Dr Ansgar. 

Dr Ansgar, rises up to occasion in 5000m race by doing 17m 39sec at age 50

To fellow runners here, Colin, Evan, Erich, Andreas, Jensen, and other good runners here, it is usual trait to be well liked by all our young and old, male and female runners.

The amazing thing about Dr Ansgar is that he let the leg do the talking. When he does not do well, he becomes silent and finds out solutions that will make him run faster.

Recently, on last Thursday, we discussed what the research papers say on running and we talked on the running technology to run faster. He is usually open to idea and to act upon to do well. He told me that his strategy for this 5000m race is to win a medal and not the time. I was surprised that he and I had the same thought. I was glad to hear this.

In the race, taking a more conservative strategy, as compared to his 800m where he did 2min 17sec and came in 4th, he followed the China and Mongolian runner behind all the way until he was at the last 1km mark. Dr Ansgar, instead of kicking at the last part of the run, decided to open up the gap earlier. Dr Ansgar found that he was well hydrated to brave any hot and humid climate and finally came in first in the race.

Signboard displaying the notice on Free Admission at Gate 21 of Sports Hub

Dhanabal, I think, an official from Singapore Athletics, told us immediately that Dr Ansgar needs to go to Sports Hub for prize giving and he told us not to go to Sports Hub. There were many witnesses to this. I don't know whether ti was the instruction by C Kunalan or Loh Cham Piew or Dhanabal himself who wanted us not to go. It was like throwing cold water into our enthusiasm. I think that there must have been a problem of communication between them. We were thinking of going home. However, we thought of celebrating from outside Sports Hub. When we saw a signboard on free access to public to enter Sports Hub through gate 21, we entered as we felt invited, and took several photos of the victory ceremony.

The day was well spent and it was an amazing thing to really know that Dr Ansgar did 17min 39sec for the 5000m race for age 50 to 54 years of age. It was one of the best celebration that we have ever had.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng, 50, did 5000m in 17min 39 sec for Asian Masters Track and Field 2016

By Rameshon

Flexifitness Team Captain Lim Thow Wee arrives at Kallang Practice Track

In the morning, Evan Chee and Colin Chua did us proud by coming in 5th and 9th, respectively, in 5000m for 35 to 39 year old men category, in Asian Masters Track and Field Championships 2016. Our Captain Lim Thow Wee was present at the start of the race. Later on, more supporters came to support Colin and Evan for the race.

The race started with Eduardo from Philippines leading everyone from start till the end. Evan Chee did 17m 55sec (personal best 2hr 49min, Tokyo marathon 2016), while Colin Chua did 19min 05sec (personal best time for marathon 2hr 58min, Tainan Marathon 2016). It was not a personal best time but it shows that both runners were conditioned very well for their future training, in the coming weeks.

Supporters came to support and both athletes did proud for us. Flexifitness supporters were really giving all their best to cheer. Moonlake, Erich, Saravanan, Darren, Kacy, Jolin, Saranniya, Yogaraj, Allie, Hana, Brian, Try Aprison, Lim Thow Wee supported wholeheartedly and both runners ran their hearts out.

Earlier, the 10000m race was held on Friday, last week, Evan came in 4th for the race, while Ang Chee Yong came in 3rd, for Singapore.

In the 5000m race, Colin did his best by coming in 9th, finally. Evan was sixth position, earlier before the race, and got stronger over time to do a sub-18min for the race. Fortunately, the weather was better than last Friday., where Evan had to run 10000m.

Towards the last part, Evan and Colin sprinted all the way to finish the race.

The early leader Eduardo from Philippines led all the way till the end. There were no fight for him and he was working to do a good time, instead.

The results are posted below for your reference. The supporters felt that they enjoyed in seeing our both runners doing very well in the race.

When it was 10am, finally, Dr Ansgar's race started. Dr Ansgar was 5th from the start. Over time, he gradually pushed the pace and was able to have himself second for the last few rounds before he sped at the last 1km to finally do a big personal best time of 17m 39sec.

The three athletes seen below were giving all their best to lead, but at the last 1km, Dr Ansgar had another gear. That enabled Dr Ansgar to open the gap and he finally won the race by coming in first, winning a gold medal finally.

All of us gathered and took a memorable photo. We were all very happy for Dr Ansgar.

The result of his race is given below by Singapore Athletics. Earlier on, Dr Ansgar wanted to just win a medal, but later he changed his strategy and mind to go for gold medal.

The supporters took a photo to see the medal ceremony where Dr Ansgar won the gold medal.

We waited for the prize winning ceremony and witnessed the ceremony. It was great to see Dr Ansgar winning the gold medal in the race with a phenomenal time of 17m 39sec, for 50 to 54 years of age.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Evan Chee - 4th in 10,000m Asian Track and Field Championships 2016

By Rameshon

Evan Chee has a personal best time of 2hr 49min for Tokyo Marathon 2016

Early in the morning, today, I had to rush to Kallang Practice Track to see our Flexifitness athlete Evan Chee run the 10000m  race. Last Sunday, Evan, came in 3rd in Coney Island 10km Race, in the Men Open category. First and second position runners were from Kenya. It means that Evan was the first Singaporean for the race, according to the Men Open category race.

In today's Asian Track and Field Championships 2016 race, those who competed with me in my competitive days in 1990s were there running with him, from overseas. The competition was tough. In the past, these runners could do a sub-31min for 10km.

A group of overseas competitive 10000m runners, alongside Singapore athletes

In today's race, the first runner did 34min plus and he was known as Eduardo, from Philippines. During my time, around 1990s, he had ever won the Asian Marathon Championships at Indonesia in 1992. I did 2hr 33min for the race, while Eduardo won the race in 2hr 20min, which had very good runners from Japan, Korea, etc fielded in the race. He beat all the favourites. It was an honour to see him run here.

Evan Chee in action, doing his best to chase the foreign runners. 

Evan Chee, ran in the severely hot and humid time of the day and finally did a time of 39min plus for the race. After the race, Moonlake, Colin and I congratulated Evan for his valiant performance to come in 4th in the hot and humid day. It was very hot for me as well, while supporting, and I had to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. During the run, I saw a runner, limping and running and I became worried that dehydration may have taken a toll on him. If it was cooler, I don't think that this would have happened, I guess.

Two cameras to take this photo

With our Flexifitness athletes - Dr Ansgar coming in 4th in 800m and Evan Chee coming in 4th in 10000m, we are left with 5000m. This time, we will see Colin Chua in action, who has a personal best time of 2hr 58min for the marathon, recently.

(Right to left) Colin Chua, myself and Evan Chee

5000m is going to be run at 10am and it is going to be not easy with the weather, which is always threatening for the athletes. Personal best and seasonal best time will be hard to obtain in the run.

Coming up - Dr Ansgar is running at 5000m on Sunday, 10am. 

I spoke to Evan that if he wants to run, he should avoid races that are held in hot and humid climate countries. Then big progress will take place. That was how I did the National Record with a time of  2hr 24min 22sec for marathon. Hot climate runs will only give you a slow time and your 9 months preparation will end in getting slower times and you will only be good for hot weather running, that is all.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng - 4th in Asian Track and Field Championships 2016 (Singapore)

By Rameshon

Today, I was at Sports Hub at 7 45am to see Dr Ansgar's race. Dr Ansgar, 50, a dentist by profession, from Specialist Dental Group, ran to Kallang Practice Track so that he can report for his 800m race. After some time, I was told that he was at Sports Hub call room, at about 8 15am.

Dr Ansgar and his wife Moonlake

I saw a number of spectators  who came to see looking for the entrance at Sports Hub and some were going around the Sports Hub, coming back to the same spot again. They asked me about the entrance and I told them that it is at Gate 21.

Dr Ansgar, maintained lead all the way from start till the end. 

I hope that the authorities can do something about this as I saw the same situation in SEA Games 2015. My suggestion is that it would be good for SAA to get some volunteers to say where to go and how to go. With my friends we heard a spectator shouting. I believe that they were panicking a lot on whether they will be able to watch the race, as they felt they will not make it in time to get through the entrance to see the race of their runner.

I told this to some of the staff there and they did not believe it. Well, I leave it to them to sort things out.

Also, I saw Haja, who was an official for Ashley's SEA Games marathon. He was in charge of the drinks. In Skylar's long jump and 100m sprint for 12 years old in National Schools Track and Field race, he was the official. In Dr Ansgar's race also he appeared as official.

Supporters of Dr Ansgar Cheng

After some time about 9am, the 800m race for men above 50 years old started. At the onset of the race, Dr Ansgar, surged to the front and ran fast all the way. He was leading all the way, such that he was not about to compare with the earlier race, heat 1 runners. The race he was running was heat 2. He had a very big lead and the time was 2min 17sec for the race. He was 4th overall for the race.

(Left to Right) Marathoners Colin Chua (2hr 58min) and Evan Chee (2hr 49min) running in 5km and 10km soon. 

We took some photos of the race and left after the race.