Asia Masters Athletics Championship 2016 (5000m Gold): A Multi-Disciplinary Approach (Part 2)

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Photo Credit: Yee Hoo Thim

Read Part 1 here

After practicing dentistry for so many years, I can safely say that clinical complications happen regardless of when, where, who, and how. At the same time, I am also confident to say that no clinician sets out to work because they are in favor of clinical complications.

I was in the middle of trying to figure out the best care for my patients, while at the same time, I was privileged to don a Singapore jersey. It was a mission given – to run the best I could.

Make no mistake, I moved here and became a Singapore permanent resident. I am not officially a Singaporean yet. I sometimes quip that I was born in Hong Kong, educated in the USA, grew up in Canada as a professional, work/reside in Singapore and live on Facebook…

Many months ago I was made aware of the Asia Masters Athletics Championships in Singapore. As it is on home court, I could save the travel time compared with overseas meets. I simply travel too much as a clinician due to teaching, examination and other commitments, so I would like to limit my ‘less than crucial’ travel time.

I tried to sign up for the event but was told that I needed to do it through Hong Kong, as I was born there. However, over on the Hong Kong side, my contact(s) told me that I needed to have a Hong Kong track club membership (which I only used to have)  in order to be eligible to sign up.

I have been running with the FlexiFitness group for the past 2 years. Coach Rameshon is always supportive and he knows the sport really well. He is a few months older than me but he has been the Singapore marathon record holder since 1995. One day Coach Ram introduced a handsome gentleman at the track to us as Coach Kannan. Coach Kannan has been the Singapore National Race Walking 50km record holder for 47 years!! His dark eyes and handsome face behind the thick moustache was like a Bollywood grandpa. He encouraged me to sign up for the masters games too. After a bit of investigation by my ever capable wife, Moon, I figured out that I could take part only if Singapore allows me to run for her. In no time, I was signed up and I was tasked with running with a Singapore jersey. I chose the 800m and 5000m events.

Here I repeat: I was born in Hong Kong but was given a Singapore national jersey to run for the host country! This is a very special privilege indeed (受寵若驚,受宠若惊)

Based on my running progress, mathematics and previous game results, I knew I had a fair chance to do well if luck was on my side. The 800m has been my all-time favorite event since I was a school boy and I was glad it was the event right before the opening ceremony on May 5, 2016.

Without any drama (or excuse), I blew it!! I blew the 800m!! I ran over 10 seconds slower than my 800m mathematics simply because I ran the first 400m way-too fast at a suicidal pace and I came in 4th even though I had the fastest 800m time in my heat!! However, that gave me an opportunity to get acquainted with the podium finishers: a Chinese gentleman and a Mongolian warrior.

They were also running the 5000m on the last day too, so I knew they would put me through the meat grinder… if I were not careful…

While I was at work in between the opening ceremony and the 5000m, I had totally no head to think about the 5000m. Those few days I was focusing on the patients who were suffering from their uncommon treatment outcome. Running the 5000m was not even the very last thing I wanted to think about.

I was monitoring the clinical situations as they developed. I was checking my phone all the time as I had to make sure that no new surprises showed up (even in the middle of the night)… and be prepared if new surprises showed up…

I wasn’t focusing right on the run and I though to myself: I could not do this alone…

We, Aloysians at St Louis School are all taught to ‘bring honor to Thy name’. I decided I dearly need some ‘out-of-this-world’ assistance…

… (to be continued)

[Read Part 3 and the Final Part on the 5 things i have learned]

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