Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Remembering London Marathon Race 1993

By Rameshon

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tony Bignell, former vice - captain of Loughborough University Athletics Team  and Arul, unofficial team Manager for me, and was my one year my senior, for supporting me to achieve the 2hr 29min in London Marathon. Also, I would like to thank my  lecturer George Gandy, our then Loughborough University coach, for the guidance in progressing me in running.

In Year 1990, Feb, I ran in Hong Kong Marathon race 2hr 31min and I came in 5th overall in the race, with first position going to a Korean runner and second going to a China runner. Third position went to a Hong Kong runner and fourth position was taken by an Indian runner who had a personal best time of 14m 46sec for 5000m. I won $3000, at that time, and broke the National Record for the marathon. Later, in California Marathon, I did 2hr 30min in year 1991.

In fact, with this time, I was not even selected by the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association to go for World Half Marathon races or even run in South East Asian Marathon races. I had to look for my races to improve and I did not want to disturb the association. At that time, I realised that it is not a wise idea to ask the association to put me for races. I told myself not to beg for any overseas races, and that was my stand all the way, in the past. 

Also, in year 1991 and 1992, I did not break the sub-2hr 30min barrier. I was eager to do this. At the encouragement of John Sproule, I left for England. In year 1993, I ran in the Flora London Marathon, with the help of Arul, currently a teacher in Saint Joseph's Institution, who had decided to come along with me to support me in the race. 

Arul was taking my videos while running. I stayed at Tony Bignell's house as he encouraged me to stay there. Tony, and his Dad brought me to the start point of London Marathon. 

Before the London Marathon race, itself, quickly, I changed the way to train, after 5 weeks of exam period, studying and taking exams. I did not run much, but I was doing some minimum training. I exactly had 5 weeks to train, after exam. My conditioning for running, even for earlier training was more to run in 10km races, at that time. (I decided not to come for the SEA Games 1993 as the exam period clashed with SEA Games marathon 1993. The marathon race was held in Singapore). 

In the London Marathon race, I ran a race where the wind was too strong and did a half-way time of 1hr 12min 30sec. As I was really inexperienced, I told myself to go for a personal best and nothing less and not to take too much risk when running. I wanted at least a season best time. As soon as I reached the half-way mark, I felt that I could do a similar time for the other half. 

However, after half - way mark of the race, my pace was still constant until the 32km mark. My pace slowed down a lot towards the last 10km of the race. I was waiting for this to happen. As I had controlled my pace properly for the first part, I managed to run few seconds within the record. 

My joy came when I saw myself the time which showed that I was about to hit a sub-2hr 30min pace. When I crossed the finish in 2hr 29min, I felt elated after the race. I told myself that it was luckily that I did not push to do 1hr 10min at the half -way mark, as I would have been killed by the race itself and, in the end, not do well. 

I went back to see Tony to inform him of my new time and he was very happy. I am still indebted to Tony for helping me in this. 

A few months before the race, at the encouragement of my friends, I had written in to the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association to assist me and there was no reply. However, I found that they actually received the letter. I used my own money to run in this race to do well. When I did well, I did not get any reimbursement or any kind of congratulations, except from my friends. However, I was telling myself not to bother and I did not request any assistance from them, as they did not help me in the first place. 

It was a run that I wanted to do a personal best time and I realised that I was able to achieve it without the association's help, except to ratify the record. It was George Gandy who helped me in ratifying the time to the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association. Without friends, my parents, and many who helped me, this would not have been passible. 


Thursday, April 21, 2016

WWE wrester Chyna, 45, dies and cause unknown - Say no to drugs.

By Rameshon

Chyna, the WWE wrestler dies at 45. 

Joan Laurer, the female wrestler known as Chyna, passed away on Wednesday.
It was found out that the Police in Redondo Beach, California, confirmed that she was found dead in her apartment, found to be unresponsive. The cause of death is still under investigation, but police say there are no signs of foul play.
The hope of this blog post is to bring up the topic on drugs usage in WWE. I was told by my friend, a prominent person, on substance abusive in sports, when I met him in SEA Games. Presently, some coaches, in the pursuit of quick glory, make drugs available to athletes internationally, through persuasion. I was asked by one International coach engaged by the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association to take some form of tablet, which he was reluctant to inform me on the content of the tablet. An athlete whispered to me that it is steroid. The coach just kept quiet hoping that i agree to this. I ran away and cautioned the young athlete to keep away from the coach. However, the athlete did not do this. He stuck to the coach.

Athletes, who want to excel fast, do want to see quick result and decide to lean towards drugs and forgets about the hard work that is supposed to be put in. In life also, one will not work hard for results. 
Recently, I myself have seen an athlete, who from small-medium built, all of a sudden, within 3 months, looked like body builder. A size that was confirmed massive. I don't know what was the cause. It is a phenomenal increase in size and other athletes were amazed by this sudden increase in size. I have seen this in some athletes as well and my friends have discussed this at length on what is happening.  
In my life, the only person who told us the ill-effects of drugs and to keep away from it was Helen Gilbey, my former lecturer, who was teaching in the then College of Physical Education in the 1990s. 
Now, let us discuss on Chyna. The cause of Chyna's death is not known but a string of wrestlers from WWE have already passed away between the age of 40s and 45 years of age, due to heavy dosage of drugs. This goes to Ultimate Warrior, WWE's former favourite wrestler, as well. It went viral. Ultimate Warrior, was found taking steroid by the wife, as he had been taking  7 different types of injections per day. 
Hulk Hogan, also a WWE wrestler, also took drugs as he was finally caught for it. He told that in order to get an advantage he had to do it. This can bring shame to ones family if it is known. Later on, he changed his name to Hollywood Hogan, as it was the appropriate name, I think. 
The problem of taking steroids can lead to hair loss, severe depression, mood swing frequently, skin disorders, liver disorder and also hormonal changes, which leads to a man becoming women-like and the women becoming man-like, and it is true, according to studies done. 
There are two people who have become man, from woman physique, as they had to take steroid in the East Germany, before the Olympics, in the past, in the 1960s. 
Say no to drugs. We also hope that the authorities can educate the public on steroids constantly and other forms of drugs. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Jeffrey Ng's 3000m record for National Age Group (under 17) Championships still intact

By Rameshon

From year 2003, the 9min 21sec National Age group record for under 17 boys has stood the test of time 

Yesterday, Victoria Junior College's Nicole Low broke a 13-year-old record in the A Div 3,000m. She clocked 10min 57.61sec, a shade under the 2003 mark set by Hwa Chong Junior College's Pamela Chia (10:59.21).  

For the 3000m race for under 17 boys, Jeffrey's record was also threatened but again it stood the test of time, as it shows that the performance, set in year 2003, is not an easy thing to be broken. A lot of  time, money and effort was needed and also in that year Jeffrey Ng scored 10A1s for GCE 'O' Levels, prelims, and then later on he scored 9A1s, with 1A2 for the real GCE 'O' Levels, itself. A feat that showed great balance in showing excellence in studies and sports. (Not only that, Jeffrey has never once crowed about his achievement to his strings of multiple victories, in the past). 

From the start of the 3000m race, Syed Hussein pushed the pace and went upfront and did a 31-32sec for the 200m and a 1min 10sec for 400m. At the 1km mark, the time stood at 3m 11sec. I knew, instantly, that these guys are going for first, second and third rather than breaking the record. 

A few days ago, Ruben Loganathan, in heats 2 did a time of 3min 07sec, which showed the possibility. However, in the heats, he felt tired over time and win the heats in 9min 59sec. The same tiredness was shown by Syed Hussein, over some time, in 3000m as the day was extremely hot. 

Immediately after the race of 3000m finals, I was told by someone that a Maris Stella boy, a contender for top 3 position in the race, just gave up, all of a sudden, and pulled himself out of the race. I believe that this could be due to dehydration. It was wise thing to do and I too usually say this for my athletes as well, to take safety into consideration.

Ruben Loganathan 4th in 3000m boys under 17 (second from left) standing, with Brian Ye on my left, who also did the school proud by coming in 9th, in the final, instead of 16th that he got from his overall heats timing. 

With the scorching heat, Syed pushed the pace and was upfront all alone. This was where I had spoken to Ruben Loganathan to go to Syed Hussein in the second lap or third lap to close up with Hussein so that both will end up with better timing. (Ruben has a personal best which is much faster than the race time itself). 

However, Darrel, a former runner of mine, 2 years back, (with teacher and coach Gerard Danker, now), an athlete of Queensway Secondary School, was blocking Ruben and this was found in the video footage taken by a parent. When Ruben wanted to move to Syed Hussein, Darrel, wanted to be in front of the group to be the top 3 runner. Hence he kept blocking. As the pace slowed down, for few rounds, Ruben tried to go to the front but it was to no avail. Finally, he went to second lane and Darrel when to second lane and caused an intentional block. The officials, may be, were busy, so hence, they were not able to see this. Many spotted this and discussed this with me.

When Ruben surged, Darrel also surged to the lane that Ruben was running. Ruben could not do anything but to keep surging, with Darrel kept on blocking. After a time, both runners were very tired, and a Commonwealth School athlete and Hwa Chong athlete ran and overtook both Ruben and Darrel finally. 

Syed Hussein was also threatened by the weather such that the runners behind were catching up. Ruben and Darrel were fading. Eventually, Syed Hussein was able to pull away at the last 300m and won the race, which was 23second away from the record. Ruben ended 4th and he had to give a very hard fight to an ACS (Barker Road) student. Ruben should be sprinting with Syed Hussein, instead. 

As I had seen this, I called up one of my former Queensway Secondary School runner, a female athlete, to give me Darrel's hand phone number, as I was his teacher and coach, in the past. I asked Darrel why he deprived Ruben of going in front as Ruben had the chance of first and second. To this, Darrel told me that he was just running in front so that he can get top 3, if possible. I asked him on why when Ruben ran to second lane, he did not stay in his own lane. Darrel could still lead or stay in first lane as Ruben can run in second lane.   Darrel on second lane, ran back to Ruben's lane, where the latter ran back to lane one. Darrel ran to lane one to block intentionally again. I told that it is the same as playing soccer or a game, instead of taking the complex skills that an opponent pose as the obstacle, he has taken the person as the obstacle. This was taught to me in Loughborough University of Technology on the values that sports can give, and fair sport is very important.  

Darrel was repentant to this and he told me that he will not do this again. I spoke to him about sportsmanship and that he did not display yesterday. Upon seeing him as receptive, I told him not to do it to anyone again. Also, when one does this, the race of both runners involved will definitely suffer. To my experience, races that has 'overtake and overtake back' about 3 times is enough to cause extreme exhaustion. I have experienced this and always tell my athletes to avoid the situation. Darrel was 15th and the last runner because of this and I could him not able to complete the race properly. 

I told Darrel on how I ran a Swift Relay race somewhere in the 1990s, and when I got second place, I ran for first 100m of the 3.2km MacRitchie Route (girls route) and was blocked by a runner called Surinder Gill. As I felt stronger, i went to right hand side of the athlete to overtake, the runner went to my lane to block. Hence, to be fair to him, I decided to run on the left to overtake and go faster, as I wanted a faster time. the opponent was trained by Sivalingam, a former national coach. There was no official to see this. I don't blame the officials of not seeing this as it was performed in the forest and it is not an open environment. Again, the boy blocked me. To this, I had to be street smart. I knew that at the end of the race I may die out. I knew that I have to get out of this situation and it must be immediate. Hence, I mustered up my courage and surged extremely hard. As soon as I was way in front, Surinder kept chasing me to run in front of me rather than to run side by side. Again, I gave a relentless push and I did not hear Surinder's footsteps anymore. On that day, I gave the baton relay as first to Swift and was extremely fatigued by this unfair competition. I was hoping that this should not happen to anyone as we do not know who is the true winner finally. 

Having said that, I feel that yesterday's race was ran not to the best race, even for Hussein, to my perception. i always believe in challenging an opponent when they are at their best and not when they are at their worst condition or to cheat the opponent and win. Winning by cheating is pointless and being a good sportsmanship is very important for winning. Athletes are to learn this so that in future one can put to practice in workplace on the importance of working hard to succeed and not by cheating and succeeding. 

As for Jeffrey, I applaud the day, in the past, he had to contend with a number of very good athletes and his record says something about him. SEA Games bound Pamala Chia's record for 3000m was erased but not Jeffrey's. I will inform Ruben on how Jeffrey had won races in fair manner and rose to what he is now. 


Monday, April 18, 2016

3000m National Age Group Record - Will it stay intact?

By Rameshon

Jeffrey Ng - 3000m National Age Group Record for under 17 boys, still intact. 
Jeffrey Ng's 3000m record of 9min 21sec (2003) has stood the test of time. 

Let us look at the 3000m under 17 boy's record and study on the standard that it is now. For me, how Singapore is going to fair in the future comes from the 3000m race, especially the under 17 and under 20 race. 

I believe that other distance events are suffering as well, after I watched several 800m races and the 3000m walk, yesterday, as well. 

A few years back, around year 1996 to year 2011, the time was around 9min 30sec to 9min 40sec in 3000m race for top 3 runners for boys. Even under 14 boys delivered a sub - 10min easily. Lately, the timings have not really shown much improvement. I am trying to find out what could be the reason, and write in the upcoming blog post.

Looking at the 3000m race, this year for under 17 boys, the runner who went very close to the record, as I can remember was, to my perception, is Karthik. Jeffrey Ng himself, came to see this race a few years ago. The 9min 21sec timing showed that it stood the test of time, till now. 

Mok Ying Ren and Soh Rui Yong, both, gold medalists in Myanmar SEA Games 2013 and Singapore SEA Games 2015, respectively, have tried for the record and were not able to break it. However they did some commendable times for the 3000m race or under 14, under 17 and under 20 boys. 

For this year, we have Syed Hussein, 2016 National Schools' Cross - Country under 17 boys winner who will be running in National Track and Field 3000m championships. It was mentioned that he is going for the record. This is something positive. After seeing the race, I found that there is a lot of work which needs to be done, as Hussein ran much faster than all the individual top 20 athletes of under 20 boys in National Schools' Cross Country Championships. This was a feat that has honour in it. Hussein is setting the benchmark. However, the time he did 9min 59sec, shows that Hussein needs to train a lot to acclimatise to the weather, as the race is usually in the hot sun, frequently. I have been noticing this for a long time. Runners need to train in the hot sun to do well in hot sun. 

As for Hussein, tomorrow's race may end up as a solo race unless someone pushes him. The closest to push Hussein is Ruben. Armand, 3000m under 14 boys' race winner in year 2015, will not taking part in this race as he will race in 1500m and 2000m steeplechase race. 

We just hope that the race is run such that at least 8 athletes do sub- 10min, which is a minimal target for Singaporean athletes. 


Thursday, April 14, 2016

About Jeffrey Ng - 3000m Heats in National Schools Track and Field Championships 2016

Jeffrey Ng - 9min 21 sec timing looks like it is going to stay for very long time. 

By Rameshon

Syed Hussein delivered today by doing a 9min 59sec for 3000m, and was the overall best runner for the 3 heats. However, he missed the 3000m National Schools Track and Field Championships' record set by Jeffrey Ng, who ran a time of 9min 21sec,  set in year 2003. 

Ruben Loganathan was second overall for the 3000m race, with a time of 10min 00sec. 

The time that Syed Hussein did was 38sec away from Jeffrey's record. In order to break, every kilometre the time should be 3min 6sec, on average. 

Jeffrey was a model student in Hwa Chong, he was awarded several award, both for academic and sports as well. He was targeted to be one of the president's scholar. 

Once after a hill workout, I forced Jeffrey to come into my car so that he can be present for the interview for president scholar. Upon a dean's request, I decided to bring him to school for the interview. He told me the time of the interview. Little did I know that he had missed the interview. Purposely, without his running mates' and my knowledge, Jeffrey, missed the interview. 

As soon I asked him to get into my car, he told me that the interview was over. I did not know what to tell the dean. I was furious with him over this as the dean may get angry with me. Over time, I realised that Jeffrey could have been the president scholar, as nearly all the school athletes liked him and he displayed high moral values. 

Jeffrey was excellent in studies and he delivered by getting GCE A Levels with 5 As. He was featured in the Chinese Newspaper and I was proud of his achievement as he was also able to get champion for at least one race of the track races. 

He even represented SWIFT CLUB and was champion in the Singapore Open Track and Field for 3000m steeplechase. 

Jeffrey always gets colours award for running every year. He had to fight with athletes like Mok Ying Ren and came in as victor in 5000m and National Cross Country Championships race. 

The finals for under 17 boys 3000m is in on 19th April 2016. 

The 3000m race is an important race as it was here that athletes like Soh Rui Yong and Mok Ying Ren developed. 

As such, it is good for one to go and watch the race. From the way the heats were run, I don't have an idea whether the record will be broken. Only time will tell. 

For me and Jeffrey Ng, it was worth it to work together to achieve the best in running and most importantly, it is worth it to have sacrificed our time, money and effort. Well done, Jeffrey Ng. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

3000m record for grabs in National Schools' Track and Field Championships 2016

Jeffrey Ng - Hwa Chong's best runner ever

By Rameshon

Jeffrey Ng, one of my favourite athlete from Hwa Chong Institution, the never bragging athlete

There is a name and record that is worthy of being mentioned by me in the coming National Schools' Championships 2016, and it is Jeffrey Ng and his 3000m 9min 21sec record, set in year 2003. 

As a school athlete, he was faster than any athlete of his era, that was why his record has stayed for a very long period. Even Karthik, from former SJI, the under 14, under 17, under 20 champion of three different years in running events, was going for the 3000m record and ended 5 second away, in the end, from the record. 

As an athlete, Jeffrey was not arrogant and was a quiet achiever. He did not once boast about his many victories, personal best in 3000m steeplechase was 10m 13sec. If he had continued running, Jeffrey may have broken several National long distance records. The humblest runner that I have ever come across in running was Jeffrey, a former Hwa Chong Institution athlete. 

Hussein, Pasir Ris Secondary athlete, this year's winner for National Schools Cross Country 2016 race, wants to break the record. Will he break in this years 3000m heats tomorrow is a mystery. Hussein is adamant about breaking. Armand (last year's 3000m under 14 champion and Ruben Loganathan will also be running. Brian Ye and Darren Tan will also be also running and they are one of the top runners in the race. 

As this 3000m record has lasted so long, I am proud of training Jeffrey Ng. In order to break the national record for boys under 17, we used a technology to break it. It was my best days of training when he was one of my athlete. A very determined and resilient runner who was able to score GCE 'A' Levels with 5 As, a straight 'As' student indeed, who did not once show off his talent. 

The race will be at 4 10pm and it will be held at Bishan Stadium. 


Monday, January 18, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng and Family - Nothing is Impossible

By Rameshon

Team Flexifitness celebration Miao Yi Restaurant

On, January 17, which was yesterday, we were celebrating Evan Chee and Colin Chua's victory at Miao Yi Vegetarian Restaurant. Both runners gave us a treat for athletes and coaches for the improved performance in Stanchart Marathon 2015 and in Ultra Marathon 2015. Evan was third in the Men Open category in Stanchart Marathon 2015 with a time of 2hr 56min, while Colin was 4th position in men open overall with a time of 2hr 58min, for first time doing a sub-3 hours. On top of that, Evan Chee, also came in as last year's champion for the MR 25 Mizuno Ultramarathon in the men open category of the race, fetching the fastest time taken for overall men and women as well. 

Dr Ansgar Cheng in Hong Kong Marathon 2016

While we were celebrating our victory, suddenly, as promised, Moonlake, Dr Ansgar's wife, told us that they will meet at Miao Yi restaurant, after their run in Hong Kong Marathon 2016. Just imagine, anyone in the right frame of mind would actually go straight home after arriving Singapore from Hong Kong, looking for a good rest at home. Unlike that, Dr Ansgar's family, after the SIA plane touchdown at Changi Airport, told us that they will also join us, not really for food, but for the celebration. We were about to finish our dinner, and somewhere at 9 30pm-9 40pm, finally Dr Cheng and family arrived. We felt elated and enjoyed the day even more with their presence and took a lot of photos together.

Dr Ansgar Cheng, pride of Team Flexifitness 

I find that this is one of the highest and finest gesture by anyone, who can willingly come from a tired run, and they came all the way for the dinner, without any form of rest, although the dinner was ending soon. I don't know how to pay respect for this extra mile gesture. Our Flexifitness team captain was impressed with this gesture. Towards the end of dinner, I gave a short speech and Lim Thow Wee spoke on the milestone that Flexifitness has achieved since year 2009, where we actually are meeting again at Miao Yi again. In the past, Dr Ben Tan gave us a treat here for his 2hr 56min time in Stanchart Marathon in year 2009.

Dr Ansgar Cheng (left) and Moonlake (right)

We are also very happy for Dr Ansgar for his sub 3hr 09min run at Hong Kong. He did 3hr 08min plus, while Moonlake did 10km in around 1hr 01min. Official result will be out soon in the interview that Saranniya has posed to him. We, again, would like to congratulate Dr Ansgar for the valiant run and a new personal best of 3hr 08min, nearly 27min much faster than his 3hr 35min, formerly his personal best time in the Stanchart Marathon 2015. Also, we would like to congratulate Moonlake for her 2min plus improvement,  from her personal best time of 1hr 03min in the 10km  race. She did 1hr 01min in the race.