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Wednesday 11 November 2009

Report: 23rd Malaysian International Open Masters Athletics Championships

By Aiman Cheah

Venue: Perak Stadium, Ipoh, Perak
Date: 7-8 November 2009
Category: 5000m Walk, Men 40-44 years old

This is one of my best races. Quite fit - thanks to Haris for a good 'cardiovascular training' in Genting Trailblazer a week earlier. And also not forgetting Mr Yu Song, with his encouragement prior leaving for Ipoh the day before.

To be frank, training was minimal and I don't have the confidence to do well. Just aiming for the last spot on podium. Swam in UM pool on Thursday and it was more of 'fun' as I was in the pool for only 30 minutes. On Friday did 4.2km and it was about 6 mins 28 secs per km. Quite a tall order to go sub 30 minutes in 5 000m!

This time around, I only have 2 competitors from India, I from PDRM – Cpl K. Jayapal (to whom I narrowly missed the silver medal in Stadium Utama, Kangar last year) I from Sabah and antoher one which I can't remember. So even the last position is 6!

Started the race on the second row and as usual, started like a tortoise. Was left by more than 50 metres when the first person completed the 200m. I kept up with my pace and found that I had quite a good level of fitness. I overtook one after another. By the end of the 3rd lap, I was already number 3 in my category.

I was thinking whether I should just maintain my pace lest I conked out due to inadequate training or to challenge for the gold! I decided for the latter when I found that I had a company - almost the same speed - Mr Bill Purves. I had great respect for him. When I was the champion the 35-39 catergory at MSN Trek, I was overlap by some many other competitors. This time I am happy that I was not being overlapped.

Following Mr Purves closely, I managed to overtake the more established walker like my good pal - Mr Raiei Mahidin. I guess he did not give it all as he was already leading in his catergory of 50-54. He had never allowed me to overtake him in past races! Going into the 4th lap, I overtook Cpl K. Jayapal and Chougule Vishwas Shripati(India). I still had a good pace and surprisingly, none of them fought back.

Mr Purves really gave me the confidence and push to go all out. However, he was just too good. In the final 200m he showed why he was a master athlete! I was left by him almost 10 metres at the finishing line.My watch showed 29mins 39.39secs.

Congratulated Mr Purves for his strong finish and as I catching my breadth Mr Chougule Vishwas Shripati came and congratulated me. I felt good but when the official result was announced in the afternoon, I was second, Cpl. K.Jayapal was first and Mr Chougule Vishwas Shripati was 2nd! He protested and I joined him.

The technical officials looked into the matter and hours later, stick to their decision! Oh my god, what a shame! Cpl. K. Jayapal had admitted that he was not the winner and both of us was ahead of him. I really took my hats off for Cpl. K. Jayapal for showing a very high degree of sportmanship.

Even at the prize giving ceremony I was asked to take the gold medal as the actual result, not the result of blunder by the technical officials.

I guess what actually happen was when the first person completed the 13 laps, some of the officials were caught off guard as to whom should be finishing and whom had not completed the race. My official time was 30 minutes 40 secs! It was exactly one minutes of my watch! I wonder if my watch could be that unreliable.

If the athletes from the Indian Contingent were rewarded for their performance, then the Chief Technical Official of Perak Amateur Athletic Association should bear the sin of depriving Chougule Vishwas Shripati of what he deserved. We knew what has happened but it was too big an ego on the part of Perak AAA to admit and accept the mistake that was done. Do I forgive them? The answer is a big NO!

LapTimeTime Toal

Official result:
1. Cpl K. Jayapal
2. Aiman
3. Vishwas

Actual Result on track:
1. Aiman
2. Vishwas
3. Cpl. K. Jayapal

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