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Monday, 23 June 2008

Report 7th Johor Masters Open Athletic Championships

By Aiman Cheah Tiong Chap

Venue: Larkin Stadium, Johor Bahru
Date: 21 - 22 June 2008

I reached the stadium at around five minutes past seven, feeling excited. This is the first time for me competing in Johor. I collected my bib and got ready to warm up. I overheard some of the competitors saying that the first event would be the 3km walk. I thought they had got it wrong. To my horror, I was wrong!

The 5km event was scheduled on 22 June. I had planned to return to KL around noon on 21 June. I asked the team manager if I could take part in the 3km instead. Luckily for me the meet manager admit that they had made some changes. So I got to take part in the 3km without a penalty - RM10 for late payment on top of RM10 per event!

I did not expect the event to begin at 7.30 sharp as even in KL, the earliest would be close to 8.00 a.m. We were called to the starting line at around 8.20. That was almost a delay of an hour.

I had a good start, to be within the top 10 for all categories when we crossed the finishing line to complete 200 metres. However, my position dropped quickly as the race progressed. After 300 metres, my stamina let me down again. I could not keep up with the pace. I was out of the podium position by the time we completed 600 metres.

I tried hard to be consistant as my earlier target was to finish the 5km race below 30 minutes. It should be easier to have achieve the 6mins per km pace in 3km but that did not materialize. I did not know my offficial position or my time when the official results were announced. Quite frustrated as the organizer could have done better.

The first unusual thing was that participants need not report for the event. The second unusual thing was that the starter did not check the start list. Those two procedures would not be missed by FTAAA officials no matter how late the event would begin or how few their officials were! It was not a surprise when I saw the official result list – only competitors name and number with no timing! Only top three competitors were stated!

I wonder if it was a subtle message to tell those who had failed to finish on the podium that their participation was a waste of the official's time to make a record on the official result, a waste of time for the lap recorder and a waste of time for the time keepers.

My own timing with my stop watch:
0200m - 01:04 1:04
0600m - 03:31 2:27
1000m - 06:09 2:38
1400m - 08:46 2:37
1800m - 11:25 2:39
2200m - 13:58 2:33
2600m - 16:31 2:33
3000m - 19:03 2:31

It is very tough to compete in the 40-44 age group as most of the competitors are very seasoned. There is little hope to finish on podium if one cannot walk at least 6mins per km. That is 2:24 per lap. I was well off the pace except the opening 200m. However, I was satisfied with my performance because I managed to keep my time close to 2:30.

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