Monday, January 31, 2011

Sheryl Loh and Oon Shui Kun - Shining Undiscovered Talents

Upcoming Story

Recently, Sheryl Loh did 32min 24sec for the recent 8km time-trial, with Oon Shui Kun and Ashley Liew doing 35min 11sec and 35min 14sec, respectively, for the 10km time-trial today on the tarmac track.  Sheryl is going to Monash University on this Saturday, while Oon Shui Kun will be enlisted in the Army soon.  The author hopes that their talent is supported by the necessary organisations, SAA and SSC to groom them for the future of Singapore Athletics glory.

Picture 1 - Sheryl Loh has finally shown that she is capable of doing sub 40min for the 10km in the future. Ashley has gained back his fitness after a long break from Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon.

Picture 2 - S. Jeevanesh, Oon Shui Kun Jian Hong and Yeo Si Heng were prize winners during SAA cross-country race. Onn Shui Kun, given the time is capable of doing sub 35min. In the long run, he is capable of doing sub 33min within 6months. The only thing now is he is about to go Army for National Service.

Page View ( 01 Jun 2010 to 31st Jan 2011)

Page View (Jun 2010 to Jan 31st, 2011)

Discussion On Breathing Technique Study Done In The Chinese High School (Part 2)

Discussion On Breathing Technique Study Done In The Chinese High School (Part 2)

In the present study, at the start of the test, for factors such as energy level, anger, stress, calmness, fear, mental relaxation and feel good factor, the mean scores were found to be 5.86, 3.29, 3.86, 4.86, 3.57, 4.57 and 6.14 consecutively. After 20 days, for the same factors such as energetic, anger, stres, calmness, fear, mental relaxation and feel good factor, the mean scores were 8.14, 5.86, 6.29, 7.57, 6.14, 7.71 and 7.71 consecutively.

Components Past   Present  Improvement (Increase) %
Energy          5.86   8.14        22.8%
Mental          4.57  7.71         31.4%
Feel Good     6.14  7.71        15.7%
Calmness      4.86  7.57        27.1%

Table 2A : Shows the improvement (increase) of the components in subjects after 20 days.

Components Past Present Improvement (reduction) %
Fear             3.57 6.14      25.7%
Anger           3.29 5.86      25.7%
Stress           3.86 6.29      24.3%

Table 2A : Shows the improvement (reduction) of components in the subjects after 20 days.

In twenty days, the middle and long distance athletes of The Chinese High School found that they had improved energy, mental relaxation, feeling lf goodness and calmness by 22.8%, 31.4%, 15.7%, 27.1%, consecutively. There was also a reduction in fear, anger and stress by 25.7% , 25.7% and 24.3%, consecutively. This study also proves that when stress level reduced, fear and anger also reduce at the same time. Simultaneously, there is an improvement in energy level, mental relaxation, feeling good and the feeling of calmness.

This shows that there is a necessity to understand about the cause of stress and how to counter this problem. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living Foundation, Bangalore, in India, mentioned in his speech that "because of the unnatural stresses of modern life the rhythms of body, breath, thought, emotions and environment rarely are synchronized. This makes us more vulnerable to disease".

Hatha Yoga Pradipika States, "When the breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the breath is still, so is the mind still".

In the modern world, people are facing tensions and stresses that are beyong their control. Either man worries about eh past or anxious about the future  or gets stuck in negativity. Neither at home nor in school, have we been taught how to release negative emotions and to handle one's own mind.

Many people are turning to painkillers, sleeping pills, alcohol and so on in a vain attempt to cope (Cidell Rabionovitch &, Dorelli, 1983).

However, it is said that breathing techniques such as pranayama can release the tension and negative emotions and help one to live in the present moment.

This state of present moment is similar when we are absorbed in deep thinking. The process of breathing becomes slow. The suspension of mental activity increases in proportion to the slowness of breath.

However, the case is otherwise when the mind is afflicted by sorrow or anger, the breath becomes irregular and broken, the opposite of the slow, smooth flow of the breath when the mind is calm (Vishnu-devananda, 1988).

In a self report given after 20 days by the subjects shows positive remarks given on the outcome of the twentyu days breathing exercise practice.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Discussion On Breathing Technique Study Done In The Chinese High School (Part 1)

Discussion - Breathing Technique Study done in The Chinese High School (Part 1)

Picture 1 - Pulella Gopichand at his best in year 2001 (All England Champion)

Pulella Gopichand, the All England Badminton 2000 champion attributed one of the reasons for his victory to sudarshan kriya for making him recover from knee injury and to stay focused during competition period.

Furthermore, in the year 2000, three Indian beauties won three of the most important beautiful contest titles in the world. They were Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutt and Diya Mirza who won the Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss Asia Pacific beauty pageant, consecutively. These three beauties attributed their success to breathing exercises which allowed them to remain calm, clear, focus and stay at ease. They also mentioned that there was a feeling for peace from within by doing this practice.

Picture 2 - Priyanka Chopra (Year 2000, Miss World)

In areas of research studies, very recently, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences of India (NIMHANS) has shown that by doing sudarshan kriya, there were beneficial biological effects on brain and hormone function, in the 1st session itself and patients who had suffered from depression and sleep disorder were normalised in less than 30 days (The Art of Living, 1996).

Picture 3 - Lara Dutt (Miss Universe in Year 2000)



NIMHANS also found that by doing pranayama and sudarshan kriya there was statistically significant decrease in blood there was an increase in hormone called prolactin which is known for producing feelings of well-being.

Picture 4 - Diya Mirza (Miss Asia - Pacific in Year 2000)

Dr N Janakiraamiah, Medical Director of Nimhans remarked that sudarshan kriya is capable of giving remarkable therapeutic effects. It has the advantage of restoring health along with increasing a person's personal autonomy. Therefore, the current study confirms that, there is overt evidence that breathing exercises can improve the physical, emotional and mental aspect of life.

NIMHANS in India.

National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences is a multidisciplinary Institute for patient care and academic pursuit in the frontier area of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences. The Lunatic Asylum which came into being in the latter part of the 19th Century was renamed as Mental Hospital in 1925 by the erstwhile Government of Mysore. This hospital and All India Institute of Mental Health established in 1954 by Government of India were amalgamated on 27th December 1974, and thus was formed the autonomous National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). The priority gradiant adopted at the Institute is service, manpower development and research. Multidisciplinary integrated approach is the mainstay of this institute, paving the way to translate the results from the bench to the bedside. On November 14, 1994, NIMHANS has been declared a Deemed University by the University Grants Commission, with academic autonomy. The Institute functions under the direction of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka. Several National and International funding organisations provide resources for research.
Picture 5- NIMHANS

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Benefits of Pranayama for Runners (The Chinese High School)

Pranayama - Prana means life-force and yama means control.

During my days being a trainee-teacher, I happened to read a Sports Psychology book. I was reading this book because of the desire to improve in running. Hence, I chanced to read this passage of the book where I realised that top runners do breathing techniques to remain calm during a race. It will be of benefit to runners to do breathing exercise to maximise ones potential in running.

Yesterday, in Hwa Chong Institution, I was explaining to my Health and Fitness Club members on the importance of Breathing Exercise. It will be good to put my points in a summary manner.

Benefits of Pranayama

Slowing down of the breathing mechanism (a person can breathe 12 breath per minute as opposed to 18 to 21)

Reduction in stress.

Reduction in depression

Energetic feeling

Emotional stability

Overcoming anxiety

Mind will be in the present moment. The mind's tendency to go to the past (regrets) and future (anxiety) will cease.

I have given a summary of breathing technique and  an introduction of breathing technique. This is a continuation of it.

Summary, Introduction and conclusion of Breathing Technique

Summary to Breathing Technique

Introduction to Breathing Technique

Benefits of Belly Breathing (Study done in 2003)

David Lim of 2D

"I think the breathing exercise is very useful as it calms down my mind. It also makes my body feel energised and refreshed. I was able to concentrate on task given at hand and perform well"

Heah Huey Shyang of 2G

Besides feeling Calmness, I feel more energetic.

Lee Li Koon of 3F

In class, I am very focused and could concentrate more on my studies. There is improvement in paying attention to teacher. My body and mind feel relaxed Before a race. I feel more calm as compared to the past.

Jeffrey Ng Zhao Hong of 1D

I feel cool, calm and refreshed, which allows me to pay more attentioin in class. Throughout the day, I feel more energtic.


There is evidence that breathing exercises can improve a person's wellbeing. the above study show the importance of handling stress.

In Yoga, it is mentioned that physical stress can be improved by doing physical relaxation. Mental stress can be countered by doing meditation. Breathing techniques such as and pranayama and sudarshan kriya should be done to reduce emotional stress. In The Chinese High School, 9 boys have gone for a course, which teaches them to use pranayama and sudarshan kriya.

The author's suggestion is that further studies should be undertaken on sports personalities to validate the above survey study on what breathing techniques like pranayam can do to physical, mental and especially emotional aspect of life.

At the same time, this study should be undertaken on what breathing techniques such as pranayama can do to improve a person's academic performance as The Chinese High School is gearing towards becoming a world-class academic institution.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cat Stretch - For Running (Flexible Spine = Youth)

Cat Stretch - One of the best stretch for spine and in avoiding back pain.

The Cat Yoga Pose helps to loosen the spine and entire back. It frees your neck and shoulders while stretching the back and front of your body and improves circulation.

In summary, the benefits include:

1. Suppleness of the spine.

2. Strengthens wrist joints and shoulders.

3. Massages the digestive organs.

4. Tones the abdomen.

5. Improves digestion

Picture 1A - A cat doing a cat stretch - The cat is bringing the head in and forming a round shape at the spine area, pulling the stomach right in.

Picture 2 - The cat is bringing the head up and arching the back fully, forming a curvature downwards at the spine area. .

Picture 2A- Get on all fours with your knees directly below the hips and the shoulders directly below the wrist. Slowly breathe in as you lift your head up.and arch your back.

Picture 2B - Slowly exhale as you drop your head, pull your belly towards your spine and make a round shape out of your back.

Do this for 5 reps minimum and 10 reps maximum.

As you breathe in and breathe out, make the breathing movement slower but comfortably.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Picture 1- (Above - Map of Bedok Race Route for male and female athlete.


The 10th WINGS Cross-Country C’ships will be held at Bedok Reservoir.
Details of all events for the day are as follows:


Boys Under 14,  4.2km  8:30 am

Girls Under 14,  4.0km  8:40 am
Boys Under 17,  4.2km 9:10 am
Girls Under 17,  4.0km  9:20 am
Men Open , 4.2km  9:40 am

Women Open,  4.0km 9:50 am

Age is taken as at 1st January 2011. Athletes in JC 1, Poly or Pre-U 1 are to register in the Women or Men Open categories even if they are under 17 years of age as at 1st January 2011.

PRIZES - There will be medals awarded for the following:

INDIVIDUAL - Medals for top 10 positions

TEAM - Medals for top 3 teams

NO. TAGS COLLECTION: Between 0730-0800 (for U17 and U14 Cat) & 0830-0900 (For Open Cat) on race day. Please report 10 mins before the start of the race for a briefing.

ENTRY FEES : $10 (U14/17), $12 (Open) per Individual and

$60 per U14/17 Team and $70 per Open Team

CLOSING DATE : Friday, 11th February 2011 (Late entries will not be entertained)

In the event of inclement weather, the club reserves the right to cancel the event. There will be no refund of registration fees.

For more info :

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Malaysia's Karthik Jeyaram - Asian Cross-Country Championships 2011.

Karthik Jeyaram - Best Athlete of the Year Winner (SUKMA 2010)

Picture 1 - Karthik loves his pet event, 3000m steeplechase race.

Karthik Jeyaram, who likes to be called as Karthik Steeplechaser, ran 3 races between 10 and 19 June 2010 during the Malaysian SUKMA. He won the 3000m steeplechase race, 5000m and 10000m in personal best times.  He did  9min 20.25sec (Games Record) in the 3000m Steeplechase event, 15m 18.38sec for 5km and  32min 37.13sec for 10km race. Hence, he won 3 gold medals and won the Best Athlete of the Year Award 2010 from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

His coach is none other than the great M. Ramachandran who was dominating the long distance scene during the 1990s in Malaysia.  Nobody could come close to Ramachandran as he was known for his invincibility in running a race. Many found his running awe-inspiring, including me.

Coming back to Karthik, I recently found out that Karthik is about to run in the Asian Cross-Country Championships on 20th Feb 2011, same date that Ashley Liew will be running in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2011. Therefore, I decided to give him an interview as this will interest the readers from many countries.

Picture 2 - Karthik has to balance studies and running .

How many days per week do you train with Coach Ramachandran?
Currently, I'm not training with my Coach Ramachandran as I'm studying in Kuala Lumpur while he is in Malacca. So I would just follow his training program and do in my training in my university.

When did you know that you were selected in the Asian Cross-country championships 2011?
I came to know about this on 10/1/11. I got a call from the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) office.

How do you feel about this?
I was happy and over time felt that it is a good exposure for me to prepare myself for ths year's SEA Games 2011..

How is your training going to be for this race?
For now, I'm still in the conditioning phase and hence the trainings are still more to endurance workout which suitable for cross country event..

Anyone else going for this race?
Only 3 athletes are going including me. There are SEA games double silver medalist Mohd Jironi and SUKMA 10000m silver medalist Sivamanogaran.

Is this part of the preparation for the SEA Games?
Not really. A cross-country event is a different event from track events. However, what I can through this is good exposure to regional race by the MAAU and experience.

What are you aiming for in the SEA Games?
Firstly, I want to have the experience of SEA Games. Then, I want to go for a good time. Finally, I hope to get a podium finish.

What are the events that you will be taking part in in SEA Games 2011?
Probably my pet event which is 3000m steeplechase.
Any record, Malaysian or Sea Games, that you are aiming for in future?
Yes, of course. I'm aiming to break 3000m steeplechase national record in the future. I'm confident to break the record.

What kind of timing are you expecting for the future.?
I'm expecting to run below 9min in 3000m steeplechase. Upon breaking this barrier then I will look forward to lower down the time even further, if possible.

Picture 3 - In a dramatic 3000m steeplechase race, Karthik came in first

What other races will you be taking part in?
There are many races that I will be taking part in, such as Malaysia Inter-University Games, World University Games, Asian Track and Field and others.

Where do you think the competition will be coming from, the countries that will be given you a challenge?
For long distance events, I think the competition will be coming from Indonesia, Philippines and other countries as well.

Are you still studying in the university. If yes, how are you coping with training and studies?
Yes, I' m still studying in the university. It is  really tough to be a student and as an athlete. Its really tiring. Furthermore, I'm doing Bachelors in Physical Education. It's more challenging for me because I of the fact that I got to study as a student, busy with assignments, and the tiring part is that I have to go through physical activity based  subjects, such as swimming, gymnastics, rugby, softball, volleyball etc. It is really tiring. However, while busy studying and going through physical activities, I do ensure that I don't miss any form of traning. I manage my time well.
The author would like to wish Kartik all the best for the upcoming race.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Xu Pei Hua (Part 2) - An Examplary Of Exercise As A Lifelong Pursuit

Xu Pei Hua - An Examplary Of Respect, Resilience, Integrity and Determination

What memories come to your mind when you think about Dunearn Secondary School?
Dunearn Secondary School (DSS) is a turning point in my life. In primary school my studies was very poor. I am a very active child, unable to sit down and concentrate. So I did not do well for my PSLE. By the kindness of DSS principle Miss Peck and my Dad’s patience and perseverance I got into DSS express stream.

In primary school I always achieved gold for my physical fitness and think I can run quite well. I would like to join the athletics school team but I was not given a chance. Thus in DSS during one PW session conducted by Mr Rameshon, who was then a trainee teacher, we were asked to run round the school. I ran as well as I can. After which Mr Rameshon asked me to join the school’s cross-country team led by him. I was overjoyed.

As we trained hard in cross-country as a team, Mr Rameshon coached us in our studies. Through running I learn to do my best and concentrate, so I did extremely well in my Secondary 2. I was promoted from the last 2nd class in Secondary 2 express stream to the first class in Secondary 3.

Thus DSS to me is a turning point in my life.

How did you an your team fair in the National School's Cross country competitions in the past in Dunearn Sec?
In my time in DSS, our DSS team participated in National Schools Cross-Country Championships and obtained:

1990 2nd Runner-up Team for C-Division

1990 2nd Runner-up Individual for C-Division

1991 Champion Team for B-Division Girls

Where did you go after Dunearn Sec, the college you were from and university you were from?

I did well for my ‘O’ levels and enrolled into Anglo-Chinese Junior College. I continued to do well in my ‘A’ levels and enrolled into Nanyang Technological University.

What are you doing for your career?
Currently I am a Lecturer in Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), School of Information Technology.

How do you keep yourself fit doing this career?
I believe that running keeps my mind alert and gives me energy and confidence in the daily operations in my life. Thus I run 3-4 times a week and participated in Inter-StatBoard Games and Inter-Tertiary Cross Country Races. I used to run a lot with my colleagues in NYP.

What is your personal best time for half-marathon and marathon?
My best time for half-marathon is 2hr 28min.
My best time for marathon is 4hr 34min.

What message you would like to send to student-athletes in running as a passion?

As a young runner in my teens, my main focus was to be consistent and disciplined in my daily runs. Running helped to develop my endurance, perseverance and believe that I can do well in something if I try. This is reflected also in the improvements in my studies. So as we do well in any sports we should also manage our time well to do well in our studies.

Running is not only about winning and we should not stop even after we leave school. It should be a life-long lifestyle. We should enjoy running. As you enjoy running, you would love to continue throughout your life. Winning might stop as there will always be another doing better but if you love to run it will last.

What message you would like to send to those who want to exercise to keep fit?
For the ladies, you would maintain a younger and slimmer look as you age. Generally when you keep fit, you will not fall sick and feel tired easily. Ironically as you carve out a little time to exercise 3 times a week, you will find that you will have more energy and better concentration in your daily life.
What is your next goal?
My next goal is to run the marathon overseas. I would love to run Gold Coast Marathon. I heard the scenery is exhilarating. Also I hope to improve my marathon timing to below 4hr 15min.

How do you give advice to students who want to balance studies and training?

As mentioned above, I believe a good disciplined runner should be disciplined in their time management. It is possible to balance study time and training time with good planning and discipline.
How do you give advice to working people who want to exercise and work to achieve work-life balance?
Many people complained that they do not have time to exercise. Sometimes I do complain when I lack the discipline. But when I recall the benefits of keeping fit, I will make a point to wake up early or go out for a run at night to keep fit.

I set a target every year and draft out a program for myself to achieve the target. For example, I would set a target for Standard Chartered Marathon and would draft out a year program to achieve my target. I will also buy magazines like Runner’s World to motivate myself.

Xu Pei Hua - From The Champion Mainstream School (Dunearn Sec School)

Xu Pei Hua - One of the Dunearn Dynamites.

I remember that, during my teaching practice at Dunearn Secondary School in 1989, the first girl or student that I had approached to run for school was Xu Pei Hua. Wow! To my amazement, Pei Hua was very willing to join and train for the National Schools' Cross-Country and track and field championships from then on. I remember that Pei Hua and another student by the name of Zhou Meizan becoming very interested in running. In National Schools' Cross-Country race, Pei Hua came in 3rd in the C Division once. Over time, the team made up of Pei Hua and Meizan plus other girls that I had recruited in to the cross-country team came in as the champions of B Division, Under 17 race . When I left Dunearn Secondary School to teach in Clementi Town Secondary Sch, this team eventually did me proud by coming in as the champions.

To mainstream schools this should serve as an inspiration to struggle and reach the top. It is achievable because Dunearn Secondary School has already done it. Hurray to them! Impossible is nothing!

Later on, because of the talent of both girl's running, both runners were able to go to Anglo Chinese College School to study. The teachers kept pestering me for these two athletes as they felt that they will help their team immensely. Therefore, I helped ACJC since they approached me in a warm manner.

Over time, I was very serious in my training and I had less time for these two girls and at the same time I was willing to let these girls train with the cross-country coach there. The coach there at that time was an understanding person.

Over a period of time, Xu Pei Hua got more interested in running. However, suddenly, her mother, who used to support Pei Hua in running got into a hit and run accident. I went down to the hospital to see her mother. From then onwards Pei Hua had to study and look after her mother. The teacher-coach of ACJC, at that time, understood her problem and allowed her to take care of her mother and train less in running. Even with this, Pei Hua did not, at all cost, give up on her routine exercise for health and running races, even though not intensively.

From experience, Pei Hua is an appreciative person who has gratitude and appreciation. She usually gives high level respect when she meets me. Although she is a lecturer in Polytechnic, she still calls me 'Sir'. Usually, people call me by Mr Ram or Rameshon. She possesses great humility and do not put on airs even when she does well in something, even in running. The best part that I feel elated meeting Pei Hua is for her listening endlessly to running. She is one of the best role model athlete that I have ever seen.

Picture 2 - Pei Hua doing Bike Hike

In her life, I found that she has always been keeping herself fit. Pei Hua is still slim as before. She still believe in running races, although not seriously. In short, she is the best ever former student to take exercise as a lifelong pursuit in terms of not giving up exercise for a long time. As her former teacher and coach, I feel that it is a success for me in terms of instilling the benefits of fitness and healthy living. I will be very happy if she continues like this.

Meeting her and Meizan was very inspirational for me when they told me to take over the vice-principal position in Dunearn Secondary School when they found that the then  vice-principal was leaving and at the same time I was leaving, as a trainee-teacher to the then College of Physical Education. I realised that they were not matured enough but I could see the real deep passion that they had in running.

Picture 3 - Pei Hua likes to do athletics even while being a lecturer in the Poly

Meizan has put her two sons in very active exercise programs so that they cultivate a healthy habit towards sports. She keeps calling me at times on what is best for her sons. This is also a success for me. Proper motor skills are very important for children so that they can excel in sports. We should be well informed about maturation of children to develop them physically and mentally.

Currently, Pei Hua still runs marathon and trains frequently and has a strong believe that exercise for life is very important for human survival and she has not changed her opinion on this.

Hence, I told her that to me she is the greatest success of a student carrying on sports for life. She was surprised when she heard this recently.

Also, I felt that it will be very beneficial for my athletes, friends and all to come to know of this courageous and resilient lady who also has very excellent spiritual, fitness and health ideals.

Interview in the next post in the blog tomorrow.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Readership in 8 months 24/05/ 2010 to Jan 24/2011

Facts on the number of people reading the Blog

My friend Lua Choon Huat was inquisitive in finding out on the readership. When he heard the facts, he told me to release the number for the interest of the readers, hence I thought or releasing it today.

All countries with readers. Singapore, United States of America, Georgia, Mexico, Brazil, Croatia, Ukraine, Latvia, Slovenia, Estonia, Serbia, Russia, Moldova, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Austria, Ireland, United Kingdom, Iceland, Israel, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Cz Greece, Finland, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Canada.  United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Guyana and South Korea, South Africa, Egypt, Fiji, Chile, Jamaica, Vietnam, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Peurto Rico, Peru, Venezuela, Pakistan, Macedonia, Turkey, Belize, China, Czech Republic and Morocco

Figure 1- Top 10 countriesare shown below, other countries are not shown here as they are not top 10.
Figure 2 - Page view in 8 months.

SAA Cross - Country Championships (Part 2 - 22/01/2011)

SAA Cross -Country Championships 2011

Picture 1 - Hwa Chong boys came in second. Four to run and three to count.

Yesterday, the surprise came when Raffles Institution, as opposed to Victoria Secondary, came in first in the Under 15 Boy's race. Hwa Chong came in second for the race. Even more surprising was third position went to Bendemeer Secondary School. Many people were wondering whether Victoria Secondary will be able to deliver just like previous years.

During the race, a parent commented that winning of the race depends on the final day, National Sch Cross-Country Race, and not the SAA race. He said that the weather was ok. He told that sometimes the day can be very hot and sometimes cooling.

He also commented that he was not able to see many schools yesterday who can surprise the field in the national schools' cross-country championships 2011. He told that much is yet to be seen.

In the Under 20 Boy's race, RI and Hwa Chong came in first and second, respectively.

I saw two students feeling very dehydrated during the race. One of them was not able to breathe properly. The first-aid was called upon. The first-aid came to assist immediately. When contacted the teacher in-charge, she did not know the cause of it. Even after 2hrs it was found that the female student had not recovered, although she was feeling slightly better.

In one race, I saw a runner who came from the mainstream school by the name of Tinesh from Bendemeer Secondary School. He told me he felt very happy winning an individual position of 4th, hence I interviewed him.

An Interview With Tinesh

Were you happy with the race?
It was a memorable race. I really pushed at the last part of the race. I felt that for the first time, I finally my inner strength.All the while I did not know I had it.  

How did your father feel about this?
He was delighted on the way I ran my race. He felt very pleased. I saw my son at the last 300m of the 5km race. He was around 25th position. I told him not to wait too long. He decided to go for it and came in overall over u 15 and u 18 years old around 10. Finally, I felt elated when it was announced that he was fourth position.

How do you find the weather?
At first, before the start of the race, it was very hot. When the race started, I felt that the weather was suddenly cooling and windy.

What was your timing?
My time was 19m 37sec.

How do you feel on your team getting  Team 3rd?
It was a good feeling and I am proud of this that my school has done well. However, ACS (I), Catholic High and other schools may have something up in their sleeves.

How did your girls team fair?
Only Marissa Sng did well by coming in 8th position. Last year, she did 22minutes plus. Today, she did 19min 15sec in the 4.3km run. In the inter-constituency race she came in 7th last year. She is running consistently and so we feel that she has very good chance of coming in top 10 this year.

Last year, I was elbowed by this boy from a school wearing a brown singlet. Marissa was blocked most part of the race by a girl. We just hope that these incidents do not happen again.

After hearing this I contacted Marissa Sng's mother about the incident and the daughter winning the top 8 position.

When contacted Marissa's mother she gave her feedback on the race. She told that she is going to come down personally to the race so that fairness is practiced in the national schools' competition. Jenny said, "I hope that coaches teach the runners the correct core value of fair competition". "Else, coming down for CCA and running in competition will be of no use in the end". "I am very happy that my daughter has done a very good personal best timing today," she said.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

SAA Cross-Country Championships 2011 (22/01/2011)

SAA Cross-County Championship 2011 at Bedok Reservoir (3pm)

Part 2 of the SAA Cross -Country race will be out tomorrow

Picture 1 - Jason Lawrence from MR 25 Team 1, coming in with the fastest time for the 5km men's open section

Jason Lawrence from MR 25 Team (1) came in as the individual champion in the men open section of the 5km in the hot sweltering weather, doing a time of 15m 58.29sec. He ran a relaxed race with no fight or opponent. Only his stopwatch was his opponent and at the final stretch, his training partner Mok Ying Ren was seen cheering Jason to go for a faster time. Second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth position for the 5km race were Feroz Khan, Soh Rui Yong, Melvin Wong, Ashley Liew Wei Yen and Devathas Satianathan.

The fastest time posted for the day for the Women Open race was by Jenny Lundgren. Her time was a blistering 15min 45.42sec. The distance for girls and women, as a whole, was 4.3km.

The route was all ran in the track which was made up of gravel. About 4 people complaint to me that the weather was hot as there was no shelter for the runners.

Clearly, MR 25 Club dominated the scene today as they won the Men Open team section of the 5km race also. MR 25 Team 1 got 9 points from Jason, Melvin and Devathas Satianathan. I saw Donald Ng, an avid member of MR 25, running around to assist the MR 25 Club runners to win in this section by cheering at the sideline. Definitely, it was a fine performance by MR 25 Club. Swift Team club came in second as three of their runners managed 28 points. The team with the lowest total points will ultimately win the race. The Mindef Team came in third. Surprisingly the SIM Men's Team 1 came in fourth.

 In a team event, the top 3 runners of the club of the 4 team members are  taken and counted. The lower the total, the team wins the race

Picture 2 - End of phase 1 training for the Hwa Chong Institution by running in the race.

In the women's under 20 section of the race, Mok Ying Rong from RI came in first with a time of 17min 03sec, which was about 1min 02sec from the next RI runner Wan Zahrah, who did 18m 05sec. Clara Wong from VJC did 18m 32sec, with Bell Tan from ACJC doing 18m 50sec. In the team section of the under 20, RI came in first, with ACJC team 2 coming in second and VJC Team 1 coming in third.

Picture 2 Ashley Liew, will now be doing his second phase training for the upcoming Hong Kong Marathon 2011, Brendan Lee, right is preparing for duathlon/biathlon races in weeks ahead

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cobra Posture - For Running

Cobra Pose - A healthy and flexible spine represents youth.
Benefits Of Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

1. It strecthes the shoulders, chest, arms, and abdominal muscles.

2. It  strengthens the spine and firms the buttocks.

3. It helps to stimulate the abdominal organs and thereby improves digestion.

4. Cobra Pose is a great stress reliever.

Before anyone tries this exercise, it is advisable to adhere to the following below;

1. It should not be done during pregnancy.

2. It should also not be done by those nursing neck and back injuries.

How to do Bhujang (Cobra) asana (Pose)

1. Place your belly on your mat. Your legs should be outstretched,  with the heels of your feet pointing up. Fold your hands under your head and rest for a while. Take a few calm, slow and deep breaths.

2. Now, pressing your feet, thighs and the pelvis, firmly into your mat, take a deep breath in and start to straighten your arms, raising your chest off the floor. Reach a height without straightening your elbows. The elbows are nearly straightened (90-95%).

3. Push your shoulder blades back and keep breathing in and out normally, expanding your ribcage.

4.. Stay in the pose for 15 – 30 seconds, breathing normally. To exit, breathe in deeply and while exhaling lower your head and torso back down to your mat.
It is better to do this asana slowly and gradually. If your lower back is firm, inflexible and tight , there is nothing to worry about, though, as the initial discomfort will go away with time, due to improvement in spine flexibility. This posture is a highly recommended pose, particularly for those with stiffness in the back. It is better to make the spine supple and strengthen the lower back by doing this and prevent back problems rather that treat injuries by doing this.

When there is an injury, find out from the yoga practitioner on what kind of back exercises that you can do. The insturctor will then individualise a program that enable you to do simpler cobra pose that will enable you to do some form of strengthening for the lower back even when one is injured. 

SAA Cross - Country, Sat, 22/01/2011 (Program For the Day)

Tomorrow is Singapore Athletics Assn 2011 Cross-Country Race

The map and program for the day is given below.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Importance of Breathing Technique - A Study In The Chinese High


Objective : To determine the efficiency of deep breathing exercise (belly breathing) on middle and long distance athletes (n=7) of The Chinese High School.


The subjects were briefed about the test. they were given a survey form to be filled in. Each component has a score from one to ten to circle. Subjects were told to circle one of the number first and twenty days later circle how they felt. During the twenty days, the subjects were asked to practice breathing exercise. They are to do this 10mins in the morning and 10mins in the evening.

If the subject circles, for example, 6 for the positive domain (energy level, feel good, mental relaxation, calmness) and 6 for the negative domain (fear, anger and stress) and then 20 days later circles 8, it means there is no improvement to these areas.

To further elaborate, it means there is an improvement in the positive domain - namely, energy level, feel good factor, mental relaxation and feeling of calmness. It also means that there is reduction int he negative domain - namely; fear, anger and stress level. if, however, 20 days later the subject circles 4, the result is otherwise as mentioned earlier. The past and present result are given below.

Results of the persent study show that there is reduction in anger, fear and stress level and an improvement in mental relaxation, energy level, feel good factor and feeling of calmness.

Picture 1 - Belly Breathing
(1) Stomach go out, breathe in
(2) Stomach come in, breathe out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Introduction to Deep Breathing and Running

" If hostile thoughts do not invade the mind
all his other thoughts may swiftly manifest"
(Kural 309 Subramaniyaswami, 1999)

Picture 1 - A simple belly breathing 10min every morning will energise us for the rest of the day.

Essence of Breath - Introduction

Introduction to the Study

This work was carried out in the hope that it may in tuture benefit the pupils in The Chinese High School doing sports and also in academic areas. This may also help Singapore sports people in high level competitions by knowing what stress is and the knowledge to counter this problem through breathing technique.

In 1995, the author learnt about pranayama and sudarshan kriya breathing techniques from Bangalore, India. Before elaborating further, it would be appropriate to know what these two techiniques are.

Pranayama is a deep breathing practice which opens up our lungs to maximize the absorption of prana (in Sanskrit) or qi (in Chinese) means life force. This technique recharges the cells, keeping us young and energetic with resilient clarity of mind )(Narayan, 2000),

Another unique breathing technique known as the sudarshan kriya was developed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation worldwide. This wonderful technique floods every cells with oxygen and new life. Negative toxins developed in our body, over time, are easily washed away. the effect is immediate and tandgible. It is a completely natural processwhich eliminates anxiety, depression and lethargy and we will feel good about ourselves and our entire life improves.

fter learning the two techniques and the benefits, the author decided to apply them for the South East Asian Games. Both techniques took about 30mins to practice per day.

In 1995, the author participated in the 1995 Chiengmei SEA Games. Before the Games, he was practicing breathing techniques- pranayama and sudarshan kriya - daily. He did it either int he morning or at night. By doing the breathing technique, it was found that there was an increase in focus, energy level, discipline and the feeling of fearlessness before and during the competition.

He ran the marathon in 2hr 24min 22sec, a national record time, which enabled him to seek a qualification to run inthe Olympics 1996 (B category). Though he was not selected for it, the author felf that he has reached his objective in life - that is, meeting the qualifying mark for the Olympics.

For the year 2001, the author coached the Chinese High School cross-country team which emerged champions in the under - 14 category and first runner up in the under-17 category. The success of the Chinese High School cross-country team in performing well in the National Schools' Cross Country Championships 2001 can be attributed to specific training done and deep breathing technique practiced.

It is known that in high-level competitions, athletes go through immense stress some days and a day before the race itself. The Chinese High School long distance athletes were given breathing exercises to counter this problem.

Also, scientific studies done recently show that stress can weaken the immune system, intensifying cold and flu symptoms in an individual(Marsland, 2001). A person also has the tendency to overeat (Wardle, 2000). Dr Vgontzas of Pennsylvania State University found that subjects in this study suffered from sleep disorder. Another study conducted on women found that there was a reduced fertility rate and early childbirth because of stress (Glynn, 1999).

University of Zurich and University of California research studies found that during stress cortisol, a hormone, is released. In both studies, it was found that stress can diminish a person's memory and learning.

At present there are studies undertaken on pranayama and sudarshan ( 3-cycle breathing) kriya in relation to hypertension, obesity, HIV, cancer and mental depression (The Art of Living, 1996)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sudha Singh - A Woman Of Valour (Part 3)

Sudha Singh - Yet another  courageous Indian  athlete

Picture 1 - Sudha Singh, after winning the 3000m Steeplechase race

The last story of the top Indian victorious girl in Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China, that I would like to talk about is steeplechaser Sudha Singh. During the 3000m steeplechase race,  the Chinese crowd were amazed and entralled with her mark of 9min 55.67sec that had actually captured their hearts although she held off China’s Jin Yuan’s late charge to claim the first prize. Jin Yuan gave off her 100 percent to get the gold and had to give an all out challenge to Sudha challenge to the end. It was neck–to-neck fight and it was left to who will breast the tape first. When Jin Yuan began her final thrust, Sudha must have remembered her Commonwealth Games memory and told herself that she would not repeat the same  mistake, where she ended 5th from 4th position, as she had allowed herself to be pipped.Mustering up all her might and strength, she pipped Jin by just four-hundredths of a second.

Picture 2 - Jin Yuan of China (left) and Sudha Singh (right) putting 100% to win the Asian Games 3000m steeplechase race.

Picture 3 - China's Jin Yuan thought that she had won, Sudha Singh focused on pipping the tape.
Brilliant Coach Nikolai Snesarev from Belarus, it was felt, was responsible for Sudha to tactically win the race and lunge at the finish. The crowd found the race exciting and admired the Indian girl's courage to win the gold and appreciated her valour. She showed to the crowd what  'never say die' attitude was. She remarked, after the race, about the race when earlier she saw three girls in front of her, “whatever happens I am not giving up”.

Picture 4- Sudha Singh hurdling over the steeple easily

This incident reminds us of Qu Yunxia (1500m world record holder) and Wang Junxia (10000m world record holder) when Ma Junren trained the girls, who were actually experiencing poverty at an early age. I knew about this around 1993. By experiencing poverty a person's mind will be stronger as they will tend to appreciate what is given and would be more than willing to work very hard when opportunities are given. A deep sense of appreciation also comes from them. Gratitude to the coach will be found easily from these runners.

Picture 5 - China's Wang Junxia, still the current world record recolder for 10000m came from hardship and poverty when she was young.

Picture 5 - China's long distance glory during early 90s came from athletes who went through hardship and poverty when they were young.

In this story, there is similarity in Preeja Sreedharan (Asian Games, 1st for 10000m and 2nd in 5000m), Kavita Raut (Asian Games, 2nd in 10000m and 3rd in 5000m) and Sudha Singh (Asian Games 3000m steeplechase gold). An amazing fact to understand about these three girls is that they are from small towns villages and come from poverty and rustic background. They were not wealthy. Values like appreciation, gratitude and loyalty would have been steeped in them automatically.

They have proved themselves that with hard work and determination impossible is nothing. Also, they have shown that with big dream one will have the passion to excel, which becomes the most important ingredient for achieving one’s goal in life.

These Indian girls have made India proud as most of the other long distance events went to the middle eastern countries for men and to the Oriental countries like China, Japan and Korea for marathon events and walking events. Without these Indian girls, India would have left the Games empty handed for the middle and long distance events. It must have been a consolation for all the Indian from India to do well in these events.

I believe that from these girls one can draw inspirations from them which show that winning is definitely not a coincidence. 

It should be remembered that it is a very rare sight to see an Indian girl winning the 3000m steeplechase events. Winning in this event clearly shows that anything is possible.

As for India, the National Sports Association should start recruiting potential talents in the remote and rustic parts of India. By providing opportunities like facilities, these developing athletes could get their talents groomed, which will enable the athlete to make the country proud one day.

Picture 6 - Sudha Singh was given an overwhelming support from the Chinese crowd for her display of 'never say die' attitude on the track.