Who said that life would only go downhill after the age of 40? Cue midlife crisis and other issues…
Well, a group of over 1,500 athletes aged 35 to 99, displayed the exact opposite – that one’s quality of life need not necessarily be affected by one’s age.
Age is just a number for this group of athletes, who came from 25 different countries to compete in the 19th Asia Masters Athletics Championships (AMAC). It is a platform for veteran athletes in Asia to continue to shine in the sport they have mastered and excelled in.
Held from 4 to 8 May 2016, it was the fourth time Singapore hosted the event.
Singapore was represented by 175 veteran athletes and one of them was none other than Specialist Dental Group’s Dr Ansgar Cheng, Dental Specialist in Prosthodontics. He ran for Singapore in the 800m, 5000m and 4 x 400m relay, together with other runners who also fall within the age range of 50 to 54.
800m (30 runners, 13 countries)
For the first time in many years, Dr Cheng was back on the track to participate in a track and field competition. The last he competed in a track event was when he was 23, representing his school – University of Hong Kong, at the Hong Kong Intercollegiate Athletics Game. Coincidentally, it was also in the 800m run.
Fast forward 27 years, Dr Cheng completed his 800m run with a timing of 2min 17 seconds. He came in fourth, right after runners from Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.
Here is a post-run interview that one of our colleagues did with Dr Cheng to find out more about his experience during the 800m run.
Q: The recent runs that you have been doing are for long distances (eg. full or half marathons) on the road. What does it feel like to return to the track for a competition after so many years?
A: Track running and road running are two different games. There are more variables in road running so contingency plans are very much needed. This time, I was privileged to run at the Singapore National Stadium and the track is indeed world class quality. So athletes only need to focus on the execution of the event. It is also very pleasant environment since it has a retractor rooftop so we were shielded from the elements, which makes life a little more comfortable.
Q: What went through your head before the gun shot was sounded?
A: I was ready to go. I wanted to run as fast as I could without worrying about the finish. Many years ago, I was taught that holding back during a competition would be showing disrespect to my fellow competitors.
Q: How were you feeling during the run?
A: The start was nice and smooth. While I am running, I kept telling myself to keep going. It was simply a matter of going all out and hopefully I don’t fade out. But ultimately, I did. I probably got too excited running with such a great group of athletes.
Q: How would you describe your AMAC experience? What are some of your personal learning points?
A: It was a well-organised event. Representing Singapore is very special and after all, how often do I get a national jersey? One key learning point is: preparation is king. This is exactly how we were trained in our clinical procedures too. Always: prepare, be prepared and double check the preparation. Then execution is easy.
Although Dr Cheng only registered to compete in two events initially, he was invited to complete the anchor leg of the 4 x 400m relay, after his blazing performance in the 800m run.
In the next part of the blog post, we would share more about Dr Cheng’s experience at the 5000m and relay event.