Former national sprinter C. Kunalan honoured with hand and foot casts
Two-time Sportsman of the Year C. Kunalan represented S'pore in 1968 Olympics
The legacy of former national sprinter and retired Olympian, C. Kunalan, has been immortalised in hand and foot casts, now permanently displayed in the Singapore Sports Museum.
The unveiling of the artefacts by the Singapore Sports Hub on Friday last week was the first time in Singapore that a sportsman has been honoured with hand and foot casts.
Speaking to The New Paper over the phone, he said: "I felt, 'Oh no, am I being given too much?' On the other hand, it is a nice feeling to see the relevant authorities recognising such contributions."
Kunalan, a two-time Sportsman of the Year in 1968 and 1969, is one of Singapore's most distinguished athletes.
His notable achievements include winning 15 South-east Asian Peninsular Games medals and five from the Asian Games.
At the 1968 Mexico Olympics, he set a national record of 10.38sec in the 100m, which remained unbroken for 33 years.
The cast of Kunalan's right hand is named Passing The Baton: Friendship, Excellence, Respect, while the one of his right foot is Best Foot Forward: Friendship, Excellence, Respect.
Local artist Baet Yeok Kuan did the casting on Oct 11, with Singapore's track and field fraternity present.
On the casts' significance, Kunalan said the foot cast shows how everything started, while he sees the hand cast as passing the baton to the next generation.
He hopes the artefacts will inspire aspiring athletes in Singapore.
"I hope they will think about how I was able to achieve all these despite starting (late) at 20, and my small build.
"They will feel motivated that if I can do it, they can do even better," said Kunalan, who is now a senior manager at Sport Singapore.
Kunalan, who turns 76 tomorrow, told TNP he continues to stay active by devoting an hour and a half in the morning to various exercises, including jogging and doing planks and chin-ups.
Mr Oon Jin Teik, chief executive officer of Singapore Sports Hub, said: "It is important we remember Kunalan's story at the Singapore Sports Museum, so that others can learn from it and be motivated by it."
Sport Singapore's chief executive officer, Mr Lim Teck Yin, said Kunalan's dedication to sport is exemplary.
Said Mr Lim: "We hope that through this honour, his contribution to sport and his story will continue to inspire our athletes and generations to come."