Athletic chief wants more veterans to pursue sports
SA president Tang hails success of Asia Masters at National Stadium
It very nearly didn't come off, but Singapore Athletics (SA) president Tang Weng Fei believes the staging of the 19th Asia Masters Athletics Championships at the National Stadium was a success.
Speaking to The New Paper at the end of the five-day event at the Sports Hub on Sunday, Tang said: "We can quantify the tangible effect of these 1,670 athletes by seeing how their families came along, because we didn't pay for their flight and accommodation.
"It's quite inspiring for the young kids, especially when they come and watch all these senior people still pursuing their sports even after retirement."
Tang was pleased that the event was held at the National Stadium, after initial negotiations over rates fell through.
"We had a Plan B at the Bishan Stadium, but the atmosphere wouldn't have been like this," he said.
"And, to hold an event like this, you need two tracks - a practice track and this one."
The Singapore track and field chief said the meet produced some valuable takeaways.
"The senior athletes really set an example, like the 85-year-old Japanese woman who fell at the 100m start, picked herself up and finished off very sportingly," he said.
NEVER GIVE UP
"You cannot get this kind of thing from any other sports event, especially when you are talking about grandmothers and grandfathers who are really racing.
"Even when I watch them run, I feel for their safety, but the way they fought is the kind of characteristic that we Singaporeans should have - never give up fighting."
Tang, who participated in the 100m, 100m hurdles and 4x100m relay events, urged more seniors to get active in athletics.
"There are 175 of them in the Singapore team and a lot of them are first-timers, so I encourage them to continue," he said.
"This event is something that will help them get involved and continue with the training, because we do have our SA Open Masters every year in September.
"I'm not saying that we should hold it every year, but there's no harm in holding it again; this is actually an all-rounded and very nice event to have."
Tang revealed that the 20th Asia Masters, which will be held in China, will not follow the usual two-year cycle.
"They're having it at Rugao, in the Jiangsu province, but it's going to be held next year," he said.
"Because the World Masters is held every even year, they want to stagger the Asia Masters to be held in the odd year."
Tang said the SA will now focus on selecting the men's wildcard for the Rio Olympics in August and preparations for next year's South-east Asia Games in Kuala Lumpur.