Sizzling in Singapore

Hong Kong had a team of 5 at the Singapore veterans’ meet June 10 and 11, including two from AVOHK: Shirley Wong and Mick Wong. Here is Shirley’s account of their adventures.

The Singapore meet had all the usual track and field events except the steeple and pole vault, but included a hammer throw. It attracted almost 600 entries, including 237 veterans starting at age 30. Apart from our little team of 5 there were foreign entries from Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, the UK, Poland and some African country. There were 3 entries in the M80s.

The weather was extremely hot and sunny, but the humidity was low by Hong Kong standards. It was over 33℃ in the afternoon both days. I had to pour water on the track so I could put my hands down in the starting blocks. The benefit is that you didn’t spend much time warming up. You felt fully ready after just a few easy runs.

The meet was at Singapore’s Home of Athletics with electronic timing. It’s a very sunny venue, but the organisers provided tents and chairs at trackside. The Home of Athletics is near the Stadium MRT station, which makes it easily accessible from the hotel of your choice. There is also a very nice shopping mall nearby with more than enough restaurants offering different cuisines at reasonable prices. The setup is similar to what is planned for Kai Tak. The Home of Athletics is a simple track right next to a major football stadium with a big seating capacity. The organiser explained that booking the main stadium would cost at least S$200,000. The situation will probably be similar at Kai Tak except that the simple track probably won’t be reserved for athletics. In Hong Kong, football will always get priority.

The track was very soft in the heat. Great for distance runners; not so great for sprinters. But it was easy on the legs. Mick says it cost him half a second on his 200m time.

So how did we do? The Hong Kong team was Mick Wong, Shirley Wong, Jacky Chan, Charles Ng and Alice Tai. Everyone came home with at least one medal. There were 5 golds:

Mick in the M50 100, 200 and 400
Alice in the W55 javelin
Myself in the W40 100.

Then there were 4 silvers:
Jacky in the M45 800
Charles in the M40 200
Myself in the W40 200 and 400.

The meet was a huge success simply because the organisers paid attention to details. There was unlimited iced sports drink and water available, and beer and cakes after the last event. That’s the best service I’ve seen. The free cakes and drinks showed that they understood the needs of the athletes. They respected each of us and always spoke politely to everyone. Everyone spoke good English, and the entry fee was quite reasonable. The time management and planning went very well with everything correctly organised. Best of all, the changing rooms were very clean!

The Singapore athletes were all very friendly and helpful, making sure we knew where to get the cold water and sports drinks, where best to warm up and about the call room times. The announcers were always encouraging and kind—very professional and generous with their compliments. It made for a very harmonious sporting environment.

Shirley Wong