Team Singapore

Singapore Sports Museum honours sprint legend Kunalan

The Singapore Sports Hub unveiled two pieces of art to honour former national sprinter C. Kunalan on Friday (Oct 19).

They will be placed on permanent display at the Singapore Sports Museum at Kallang.

The pieces, by local artist Baet Yeok Kuan, are of Kunalan’s right hand holding a relay baton, called “Passing The Baton” and one of his right foot, called “Best Foot Forward”.

This is the first time a local athlete has been honoured this way.

Kunalan, who turns 76 on Tuesday, was also presented with a birthday cake by Singapore Athletics president Tang Weng Fei.

In typically modest fashion, Kunalan said he thought the adulation he received was “a bit much” and felt he did not deserve the attention.

But he said: “They made the artefacts with a theme, and I think it’s quite appropriate.

“To pass on the baton (symbolises) passing on experience, or maybe knowledge. And of course the foot is where it all starts – anybody interested in taking part in sports should let their legs do the talking.”

Kunalan is one of Singapore’s most distinguished athletes, having won 15 South-east Asian Peninsular (SEAP) medals and five from the Asian Games.

The two-time Sportsman of the Year (1968 and 1969) is best known for setting the former 100m national record of 10.38sec at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, which stood for 33 years until U.K. Shyam rewrote the mark with a 10.37sec effort in 2001.

C. Kunalan