Friday, October 2, 2015

SWIFT ATHLETES ASSOCIATION - SEA Games Appreciation Dinner For Officials and Athletes

By Rameshon

Haile (right) with me (left)

During IAAF Level One course held last year December, on one of the day, I had the opportunity to meet Haile Gebreselassie. That was the second time meeting Haile. Earlier, I met him at the hotel that I was having an accommodation, for the London Marathon race, in year 2007. 

Clinic conducted by Haile

Haile came to give a talk and to conduct a short clinic on long distance running before Stanchart Marathon 2014. I also met Dr Bala, a lecturer from NIE, famous for developing Physical Education teachers. He is in the Physical Education Unit. Dr Bala has done 31min 36sec while I have done a 31min 46sec for 10km race. I was appalled to hear from Morales Menon that he does not know about Dr Bala's achievement when we discussed about our job scope. 

On one of the day, during the IAAF course, I met Dr Bala with his athletes. We took a photo together with Haile and I continued the course. It was a good surprise that we had to work together during the SEA Games 2015. It was all the Divine's work, I guess. 

Later on, in the South East Games held in Singapore, between 6th and 15th of June 2015, Dr Bala was appointed as the Team Manager for the athletics team for Singapore. I was named as the official to take charge of all middle and long distance athletes. During the SEA Games, Dr Bala and I used to wake up at 5 30am to take our breakfast and later on proceed to do our job. We were working busy together hoping to see that there was no glitch at all. 

Our SEA Games duty came and Dr Bala, Morales and I met together to discuss on our job scope. The topic went to running and I realised that Morales did not know that Dr Bala was in the first place a runner in the past. I also told Morales, since he was not aware, that Dr Bala was an individual champion for one of the age group championships in the 1980s, and that he was the fastest steeplechase runner of the past. Many now do not know about this. I hope that my blog can serve the purpose to bring to light of those who were greats of the past. I believe that it my service to Singapore Athletics to do this. 

Upon immediate completion of the SEA Games, Singapore Athletics decided to give us dinner, in order to acknowledge our contribution to Singapore Sports. It was very grand thing but I did not enjoy much of it, as prefer a simple dinner rather than a pompous one. I also felt that I was not sitting with my friends whom I am supposed to sit with. I did not have the chance to sit with Dr Bala on that very day.

Swift Dinner - Officials and Athletes

However, my enthusiasm came when we were later invited to join the Swift Athletes Association Appreciation Dinner for officials and athletes who took part in the SEA Games 2015. After our chat with some of the people, the climax came when SWIFT Club started to honour us. I was very surprised to see that Dr Bala and I were given some encouraging words, such that we felt humbled by it. Actually I was not in favour of going to the dinner, at first. From now onwards, I think I shall go. Mr Loh Lin Kok, our president gave us a token of appreciation. It was small but it had a lot of positive meaning to spur us to contribute more to Singapore Athletics. Also, despite his busy schedule Mr Loh Lin Kok made it a point to be present and to mix cordially with everyone there. He was very friendly towards me and he spoke to me casually.  

Mr Loh honoured SEA Games gold medalist Zhang Guirong (Shot Put - 14.60metres) and bronze medalist Michelle (High Jump - 1.81m).

After the Swift Athletes Association Appreciation Dinner, I felt elated and was full of energy. We stayed there late and we wanted to stay longer. However, the time was getting late such that we had to go back home. It was yet another day of discussion on athletics.