Veterans' turn at the National Stadium
Veterans to roll back the years at the Asia Masters Open, which begin today
Last week's National Schools' Track and Field Championships saw thousands of teenagers descend upon the National Stadium.
This week, it's the old-timers' turn to be in the spotlight.
The Asia Masters Open Track and Field Championships start today and over 1,500 athletes aged 35 and above from 25 countries are pencilled to take part in various events till Sunday.
Singapore Athletics (SA) chief Tang Weng Fei, who first lobbied to bring the meet to Singapore in 2012, is brimming with excitement.
"It has been almost four years since I first made the move," said the former national hurdler.
"It started from the Taiwan Asia Masters (in November 2012). I spoke to then-president of the Asia Masters Athletics, Kiyoshi Konoike, and he felt Singapore was an ideal place.
"Then, we made a presentation in Taipei, and then Kitakani (at the next Masters meet in Japan in September 2014), and everybody was impressed by the National Stadium."
The event almost got moved from the 55,000-capacity to the more modest 6,000-seater Bishan Stadium because of rental costs.
But the Sports Hub, which manages the National Stadium, helped ensure the event went ahead as planned after it told SA it was "willing to absorb costs".
Said Tang: "Everyone saw last week how good the atmosphere was at the National Schools', so hopefully it will be something similar for the Masters meet as well."
This is the fourth time Singapore hosts the competition, after the 1981, 1985 and 1992 editions.
Tang himself is scheduled to take part in the 100m and 100m hurdles events.
There will be plenty of names familiar to the home crowd.
Glory Barnabas, Singapore's sprint queen of the late 60s and 70s, will take part in the long jump and high jump events.
P C Suppiah, the 1971 Sportsman of the Year who won the 10,000m gold at the South-east Asian Peninsular Games in Kuala Lumpur that year running barefoot, will contest the 400m and 1,500m races.
Singapore's fastest man over 100m, U K Shyam, will also take part in his pet event, although he may not devour the track in 10.37sec as he did twice in 2001.
Tang wants the meet to inspire Singaporeans, as it shows that age is no barrier to sports.
"One of the things I'm a firm believer in is 'sports for life'," said the oil trader.
"For example, there's a runner I know from Taiwan (Peng Hung-lien) who was 95, and had a big white beard... You could not miss him.
"He's 99 this year and, still, he registered to run in Singapore.
"Singaporeans can learn that in athletics, it's not just about competing but also training, eating right, sleeping well.
"It's a holistic thing, about having a healthy lifestyle."