Note : This blogspot is dedicated to my Coach Alan Guilder and Sir George Gandy (University Coach)
|Chamkaur Singh (left) still holding the 1500m national record of 3min 51sec|
Several years ago, I remember seeing Chamkaur Singh at Yishun Sports Complex (track) as a young runner who was aspiring to do well in running. At that time, I was there for speed endurance, very intense one, which last just within 10 to 20min, and I will go back home. Warm up and warm down was done at home. My belief was to do a short, sharp and simple workout which will give result. (At the same time, I used to do longer workouts at places like Mac Ritchie and Clementi Stadium etc). Meanwhile, I saw this young chap by the name of Chamkaur Singh doing 200s on the track (200m repetition training).
The next time, I saw him, he was again seen doing the same old workout. Over time, repetitively, he kept doing the same old 200s workout again and again, relentlessly. I could see the fire in the eyes that he wants to excel in running.
Something told me to talk to him to vary his workout, but I decided to be mindful of my own training. I was, at the same time, also focused on not bothering others but myself. I did my best to practice silence most of the time. My thoughts were on how to get faster, all the time.
After my 2hr 31min performance in Hong Kong marathon in year 1990, John Sproule, who was my former lecturer, in the then School of Physical Education, came to me at night at CCAB track, which is now called PESE Branch, Ministry of Education, Evans Road. He strongly suggested to me to go overseas and meet Mr George Gandy and to train under him at Loughborough University. I asked him on the reason for me to go there. John Sproule told me that England has good weather which allows greater improvement in running. Immediately, I told him that that was the reason why I train at CCAB at night and it is cooling here in Singapore at night.
However, it was good to hear the truth from John that Singapore is, in fact, warm and not cold, even at night. That sentence of his struck me and I was thinking of running and improving in a favourable weather in overseas, in my mind, and over time I was looking forward of doing sub-2hr 30min by training in England.
I decided to apply for my further studies in Loughborough University and I got myself accepted for the degree course. I did not want to wait anymore and I told myself to go for it.
When I was there, I was training with the Loughborough Athletics Club. Over time, there, my timing improved a lot and I did 2hr 29min in London Marathon and 2hr 28min in Berlin Marathon. Both races were done in the year 1993. Over time, using the training methods used by Alan Guilder, I trained in Singapore for Chiangmai Marathon in 1995 South East Asian Games. Yvonne Danson ran for Singapore as a woman representative, while I ran for the men open section. I did 2hr 24min 22sec there.
Later on, in life, I met Chamkaur Singh, who started varying his training and was doing very well in his middle distance events. He was doing a near 4min flat all the time for 1500m. One fine day, he met me at MacRitchie Reservoir and discussed with me on his going to Australia. Chamkaur self-funded himself to go for his further studies cum training. I strongly proposed him to go and he finally considered took the plunge to go after looking at all possibilities.
Over time, while Koo Chin Poo, the runner that I was training in year 2004 for Vietnam SEA Games, was representing Signapore, I got the news that Chamkaur finally broke the national record of Sergit Singh's 3min 52sec.
Earlier on, in the late 80s, Maran and Saravanan have done 3min 53sec, but were not able to do a sub-3min 53min. Chamkaur was slower than there two in the past. I believe that Chamkaur's thought of not waiting and go overseas, as an elite runner, made him to finally get the final target of 3min 52sec for 1500m which he will rejoice, always.