Wednesday, December 30, 2015

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

Edited by Jasmine Tay

By Rameshon

Impossible to possible

Dr Ansgar and I can keep talking about running and we do not get tired of it

I spoke to Dr Ansgar, 49, a dentist by profession, from The Specialist Dental, and a 3hr 35min marathon runner in Stanchart Marathon 2015, on how he took up running. From my conversation that I had with him, I realised that he has been running from young and he is still passionate about running till now. He told me the story of himself on how he got hooked in running after trying other sports.

As for me, before running, there are some incidents that had taken place where in the long run, finally I took up running as I saw a purpose in it. 

When I was about 6 years of age, I was staying at Kampung Bahru (at base of Mount Faber). I lived in a Kampung, a Malay word for village. This particular Kumpung housed Malays and Indians together. 

My uncle, when he was young, used to attract me with toys, like plane and car, to make me take up a running sprint challenge with a Malay boy by the name of Cho. Cho was a very fast runner and I found that it was hard to compete with him. Always when there was a challenge, he wins and I lose all the time. I got frustrated with that as I was not able to get the toy,and as a result, I did not have the opportunity to play with the toy. Hence, I looked forward to the next challenge. 

After some challenges, somehow, on one fortunate day, I was able to win Cho in a 50metres type of sprint challenge. I felt so happy on that day, hoping to get the toy at last. However, my uncle told me that the race will be valid if I challenge Cho again and he told me that he will definitely give me the toy if I win him in the second round. I was upset with this as I found it impossible to win Cho in 50m dash. Cho seemed to possess a lot of toys and I had none. He was always luckier than me. So, in the second round of 50 m dash with Cho, I realised that I ended up losing him. It frustrated me a lot. A series of these kind of situations keep happening again and again. 

Then, came a day where I started to be aggressive in going for it. The day came where I kept winning Cho all the time. However, my uncle told me that we need to run again, this time, Cho was given a head start, few metres in front of me. I did not know why but for the second round challenge, i had this habit of losing to Cho. Over time, even in the second round, I was able to win him. 

At the end of the day, finally, I did not get my prize, as I came to a realisation that if my uncle decides not to give me the reward, then nothing can motivate him to give me the toy (usually a miniature car/helicopter/plane). At that age, even when Cho got the head start, a few metres in front, a privileged start, I did not know that my uncle was unfair. I thought that his rules and regulations of the race was the gospel truth and I thought it wrong to question him. Somehow, I used to wonder on why I was not able to get it. Over a period of time, when I got matured I realised that Cho was a pet of my uncle and there was a clear indication of favouritism, which I was not aware of at that age. 

The act of losing and losing all the time, can make children to give up sports. In my case, I thought that I was born loser. However, the act of giving Cho a privileged start, in a way must have developed in me the instinct to be more aggressive in the approach if you want something badly. I think that this must have contributed my improvement in marathon running such that I was able to do 2hr 24m 22sec. (It is good that I learnt it from the school of hard knocks). 

The abandoning day of the challenge dawn upon me when on one day, I realised that I did win, although Cho got a privileged start. We were asked to challenge again for validity. Again, I beat him, But to my amazement and disappointment, I did not get my reward, eventually. Then I abandoned the idea of any challenge that my uncle was trying to get me and Cho to do. I realised that it was a waste of my time. When my uncle called for a challenge, between me and Cho, I decided to ignore the challenge. 

Nevertheless, these challenges that took place in the early age must have made my mind stronger to rebound back when I lose. 

A number of incidents, over time, of not being able to win some Singapore top runners appeared in my life. Impossible became possible. For example, I used to lose a runner by the name of Ramasamy, former national record holder of marathon, 2hr 36min. I thought that it was an impossible task of winning Ramasamy, who had a personal best time of 16m 00sec for 5km. The thought has appeared a number of times that winning was just a dream and it is not going to happen. Over time, I was able to do  a time of 15min 31sec, where I came in 4th in Singapore Open Track and Field Championships 1992, and I also overtake him in a number of races. Ramasamy was a good athlete at that time.

Several opponents that I thought that could not be beaten were beaten, over time. From 1990 to 1992, from 5000m to marathon races, I realised that I did not have challenges coming from anyone from Singapore, except for Ramachandran from Malaysia. I was coming first in all the races with commendable timing as well. However, I was not able to improve much in Singapore. 

This made me to go forth to England to compete and study in Loughborough University of Technology. 

From the story, I can see now that kids, if they keep continuing their pursuit with iron determination and an excellent self-discipline, and the believe in themselves, they can over time be able to achieve their dream in a chosen sports. By continuing, we can see that those that we thought impossible to be beaten are actual 'human' to be beaten. 

Hence, losing when one is young is not the full story.