Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Contributing To A Child's Success In Their Chosen Sports (Part 2D/3)

By Rameshon

Passion Leads one to Knowledge Itself

Every coaching starts from being athlete first. 

While training Clementi Town Secondary student athletes in long distance running, there were also some top athletes, of the past, who came to join me. N. Ganesan, the former National Record holder of 5000m came to join me for training. He has a life time personal best time of 14m 57sec for 5km. He also has 3min 58sec for 1500m. I helped him to improve his 5km time from 16m 46sec to 15m 41sec, within 4 months. (The current 5km Singapore National Record is 14m 51sec). 

I made Ganesan to do a one week once training with me, mostly on workouts of intense nature. I was his coach cum training partner. In our group, we also had a talented boy, at that time, by the name of Harpreet Singh, who joined us at 14 years of age. Consistently in the early 1990s, N. Ganesan, Harpreet and I were able to do a sub-9min 10sec for 3km. (Harpreet Singh has done a 14m 47sec for 4.8km time in National Cross-Country race, when he was 16 years of age). So, at that time, I really had a very fast running group. There were extra four to five runners who joined us. Pei Hua and Helen Toh, also joined us sometimes for workouts. 

After my 3 years bond with the Ministry of Education, I decided to resign from the education service to go to Loughborough to train and study. I badly wanted to train to improve the time for my 5km, 10km, half-marathon, and the marathon. In year Oct, 1992, I left to Loughborough to train under Coach George Gandy, the former Middle and Long Distance Coach of Great Britain, as recommended by my former lecturer by the name of John Sproule. Gandy was our university coach. 

When I left Singapore to England for further studies, I had to leave behind a small group of runners to my friend, Eric Song, a former ACS coach/teacher. I also knew that it is unwise to train and coach at the same time, from then on. I mustered up my courage to focus my entire attention to be 100% athlete rather than to be a coach. Hence, I did 0% coaching, but kept in contact with the past runners as friends. 

In Loughborough University, unlike NIE, NTU, NUS etc, athletes were allowed to be trained by their own coaches. Sonia Bowyer, Paula Radcliffe (current world record holder for marathon), Tony Bignell, Tim Dickenson and other top runners were allowed to have their own coaches and run for the University team, so long they maintain their standard. In the university, Coach Gandy was a fantastic coach. Under his wings, a number of England top runners came under him and performed well in running, such that he was ordained the Sir George Gandy by the Queen of England later. Gandy had done a number of extensive research in altitude training as well. He had contributed a lot to England's athletics. In his room, when I met him to sort out on training programme, I saw a photo of Jack Bugner, a 13m 10sec 5km runner, and a bronze medalist of World Cup 5km race. (It was from my friend Thomas Tan that I found out about Jack Buckner's achievement).

At Loughborough, knowledge of physiology aided me a lot in my running. I was apply the knowledge to my practical training. 

Right now, if I am coaching, it has all to do with the knowledge that I have amassed from Physiology, and being coached by George Gandy, and personal coach Alan Guilder, and my training done in Loughborough University. I ran 3 cross - country races in the league that progressed to a 31m 46sec for 10km race in Loughborough Echo 10km race. I was 10th in the race.