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Serving and Stroking It Right

Photo credits : Leong AC / SportSG
A picture of a tennis serve 📷: Leong AC/SportSG
A picture of a forehand 📷: Leong AC / SportSG
A picture of a backhand 📷: Cheah Cheng Poh / SportSG

SHAHEED ALAM – Tennis is a funny sport. The better you get at the sport, the more strokes you get introduced to, which might lead you to think that maybe you aren’t that good afterall. But don’t worry because if you’re just starting out with tennis, here are the 5 basic strokes most commonly used in tennis that you’ll need to know to have a good game with your friends, (and stroke your athletic ego)!

The Serve

Let’s start with the serve. The serve is arguably the most important stroke in Tennis because of a few reasons. It is the only stroke that you are completely in control of, as compared to other strokes which largely depend on how well your opponent hit his. The serve is also the first stroke that you start the point with, and therefore having a great serve can present a huge advantage in any game. One good thing about it is that you can practice it on your own! All you need is a basket of balls and a court! Remember, practice makes perfect 👌🏾

Groundstrokes

The forehand and backhand are the most basic groundstrokes that you would need to have a good rally with your friend. Having consistent, solid groundstrokes can tilt the match in your favour. Most players have a stronger forehand that they will use to dictate the points with – Nadal is a great example. However, having a good backhand is equally important because it does not allow your opponent to play to your weakness all the time. By having a good backhand, it can limit your opponent’s options and make him think twice about playing to your ‘weaker’ side.

Volley

The volley is when you are at the net and about to finish the point. This usually happens when you hit a strong attacking groundstroke and then approach the net to finish the point. When you are at the net for ‘the kill’, your opponent will have significantly shorter reaction time to respond to the oncoming ball which gives you a higher chance of winning the point – Federer is a master at this. However, do keep in mind that once you’re at the net, you will also have significantly less time to react as well so do make sure you have enough practice at the net unless you want to leave the court with a bruised eye (and ego) 🤣

Overhead / Smash

Once you’re at the net, your opponent might try to catch you off guard with a lob. This is when an overhead comes in play. Very similar to the serve, the overhead is an important shot as it shows that you have dominated the point and need to hit the overhead to finish the point. However, keep in mind that unlike groundstrokes, where the ball typically slows down after the bounce, the overhead is the only shot in tennis that the ball comes faster to you. Make sure to have enough practice on the overhead so that you won’t rue over it when you miss on an important point in the match!With that, these are the basic strokes of tennis for beginners but be prepared to learn many more variation as you get better and better. Drop shots, forehand and backhand slice, backhand smash, half-volleys are some to name a few that you will learn as you move up the scale! Till next time, continue to #hititlikeshaheed!

Shaheed Alam is a ONEathlete and Ambassador for Asics (Tennis) and Babalot. He is also supported by Grip String Sports and Pro’s Pro. The tennis prodigy had his first match at the age of 5, and progressed to the Singapore Sports School, before becoming the first male Singaporean to win the ITF Junior Singles Title. For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

How to Strike a New Balance between Run and Work – NBRC

REBEKAH ONG – If you are walking past Suntec City on a Tuesday or Thursday evening and notice a group of people working out together, you’ve probably just bumped into the New Balance Run Club (NBRC)!

NBRC is a running club that aims to promote running and healthy lifestyle. They are one of the many free running clubs in Singapore with multiple running sessions throughout the week, and is wholly owned and managed by New Balance runners.

Their aim is to support new runners in kick-starting their running journey with the club. Encouraging individuals to continue pursuing and exceeding their running goals. The availability of dedicated staff at the New Balance retail store provides a conducive environment for all runners to find out the shoes best suited for them – whether to go faster and look faster. NBRC offers a platform for new comers and enthusiast to cultivate their current ability, regardless of running experience.

Coach Guo Pei and participants after the training session.
Photo Credits: Gary Peh (NBRC Participant)

NBRC’s weekly Tuesday sessions are held at Suntec City, under the guidance and watchful eye of New Balance Ambassador and ex-national athlete, Loh Guo Pei.  Guo Pei has had over 9 years of coaching experience ever since he retired from running competitively in 2015. He believes that coaching is not about just about training the athlete, but also shaping the character of the person you are coaching.

Coach Guo Pei is thankful to have the opportunity to lead NBRC. Having trained previously solo in his early years and transited to a training group in his recent years, he has personally experienced the benefits of being among like-minded individuals and training with them. He saw the opportunity to proliferate this experience, and develop and guide a community of active runners with like-minded individuals.

He is happy that this opportunity is able to reach out to many runners of different nationality, level of running experience, age groups and profession. Despite their differences, he is heartened to always see the runners motivating and supporting each other through a tough workout, and enjoying a safe and fun run together. It is the culture of selflessness within each NBRC runner that he is most proud of.

 I have a few friends who attend the NBRC’s Tuesday training session regularly and found them to be enjoyable and beneficial.

“It provides a structured training plan with variety which helps me in my running.” – Cheng Yee Tan

“Coach Guo Pei trains us well. I love our warm-ups. Though they’re tough, they definitely help in my running progress.” – Rachel Lim

“Joining NBRC on Tuesday has allowed me to learn from one of the best coach in Singapore – Guo Pei. His coaching methods are proven, although at times they can also be rather challenging. Runners in NBRC are sociable that makes the training overall enjoyable.”  – Gary  Peh

Hearing what they had to say about NBRC’s weekly Tuesday sessions, I decided to join them for a few training sessions! Here’s what I observed:

Focused Warm-up exercises

Participants warming up during training sessions

From the sessions I attended, a lot of emphasis and focus was placed on warming up. Running drills, HIIT exercises and circuit training were done for about 15 to 20 minutes before the actual run. Initially I found the warm-up exercises tough but as I attended more sessions, I found them essential in preparing the body for the demands of the run and training later on.

Structured Training Runs

Pre-training run briefing by Coach Guo Pei. Photo credits: Rachel Lim (NBRC Participant)

The training run sessions vary from week to week. Fartlek training, tempo runs and interval trainings are some of different types of training that we will be prescribed. Coach Guo Pei encourages everyone to put in effort into these training runs but he also notes that at the end of the session, you should not feel like you have pushed too hard. He also takes the time to help and analyse participants’ needs, and offers timely advice.

Bring your own bottle (BYOB)

Riding on the go-green movement in Singapore, NBRC encourages participants to bring their own bottles to help reduce wastage. Participants have the chance to fill their hydration at the start and end of training, so there’s no worry about being left high and dry.

NBRC Group Photo. Photo credits: Gary Peh (NBRC Participant)

Overall, I found these weekly Tuesdays sessions beneficial and I started to see progress in my runs and myself getting fitter.  NBRC caters to everyone, whether you are a beginners or a seasoned runner.  If you are interested in joining NBRC, their training sessions are on:

Days Timing Location Activity
Tuesday 7 – 9 pm Suntec City Mall NB Store Training Runs with Coach Guo Pei
Wednesday 7 – 9 pm Velocity @ Novena Square NB Store Free and easy run with seasoned Runners
Thursday 7 – 9 pm Suntec City Mall NB Store Free and easy run with seasoned Runners

Registrations are done online so be sure to register for your spot here before heading down.   What’s more a complimentary New Balance Running Club tee will also be given to you on your second session.

This article was written by runONE’s in-house writer and running enthusiast, Rebekah who enjoys exploring new places and loves her food.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Feature – RunSG x Under Armour

In April’s RunSG Magazine, ONEathlete Banjamin Quek got on the cover of the online edition. While it was pretty a warm day on the day of the shoot, Banja was really cool about it.

Maybe it’s because he was decked out in the latest UnderArmour qualifier kit which comprised of a running tee with unique hex-shaped pattern that helps to regulate temperatures while exercising. Gone are the days when gyms are too cold for your warm-spirited treadmill runs and the outdoors too hot for your burning pace.

Besides being one of UA’s latest models to be introduced onto the market, the Hovr Infinite shoes also allows users to track distance covered and calories burnt via the UnderArmour mapmyrun app.

Looking back at the opportunities and engagements he’s had with UA thus far, Banja is grateful to have met many new runners and reach out though his personal stories and challenges in running.

Banja’s running journey is not unique (but it’s definitely his favourite!). In his interactions with runners of all levels, he has noticed a commonality across them that speak to a shared desire and commitment to better themselves.

That sense of belonging to a larger community of purpose amidst challenging struggles has motivated Banja to become a better runner, and he hopes his personal stories of overcoming challenges have similarly helped others in their running journey as well.

When asked about what is his motivation in running, Banja said

“I do not see myself as extraordinary or talented. Instead, I am just an ordinary runner but I am always eager to test and push beyond my limits. I hope in doing so, I am able to inspire younger athletes to keep striving for their dreams. As a runner and as a member of ONEAthlete, I feel that we are also role models while seeking to be the best we can be doing what we love most – to be both a faster runner, and a better runner.”

For more of what Banja has to say about his running experience and journey, check out the April edition of RunSG magazine below. All rights reserved by RunSG magazine.

BANJAMIN Quek is a ONEathlete and Under Armour Ambassador. The mid-distance runner majored in business, and is passionate about the environment. He is currently away in Iten, Kenya for training.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Tales of a Triathlete #4 – How (In)compatible Are Sports and Travel Really?

Benjamin Ooi – In all honesty, I have always enjoyed sports overseas. May it be the relief from the humidity and heat here, or simply a refreshing change of environment. But I also recognise the logistical difficulties of moving into an unfamiliar place, or that sometimes we just really desire a break from the routine while on holiday.

#Trainolidays anyone?

Over the years, I have taken my training along with me to a few continents and based on my experience. There is nothing while travelling or holidaying, that categorically rules out training. Yes, the raw unfamiliarity and local conditions may be obstacles, but insurmountable difficulties they are not.

What I am going to preach here, is that travelling is not a deal-breaker, to bring you along on the adventures and great experiences that my holiday training has allowed me.

Running brings and shows you off-the-beaten-track places

1. new perspectives

A few years ago, I was working in Dubai for a few months that extended into the scorching summer and it made training a literal living hell. The seas felt like a hot tub, and even running at night felt like facing off with a massive hair dryer. However, my time in Dubai blessed me with the opportunity to meet a group of extremely dedicated triathletes who also showed me new perspectives of training and of sheer perseverance in sport.

In the face of such harsh climate (and urban conditions), one popular endeavour every weekend was to make a 2 hour drive to the Hatta mountains at 2AM in the morning, start riding at 4am in order to be done when the sun rises at 7AM. I had no inkling how I would manage my training when I accepted the opportunity in Dubai, but when you look hard enough there is usually a way!

2. new systems

Dubai is still an extreme example though. What if we’re just enjoying a short holiday getaway for a few days? Well that presents a different set of challenges. We have less time to get familiar with the locale, the ideal routes. My perspectives remain the same. Even in places as hazardous and difficult as Bangkok, simply getting up an hour before the city wakes up earns you clear streets and peaceful surroundings to get your training done. In the most dire of circumstances, find a park, or a gym; improvise. And what then if you’re travelling with non-athletes? Well, make it work. Or sacrifice some sleep. I think that we can all understand that surely.

3. new environment

Singapore is a small place— there are only so many ideal running routes, and far less still if you’re a cyclist. One tends to get bored out of their minds. But beyond that, new environments bring new experiences that are hard to fathom beforehand.

4. new experiences

One such experience I had was while exploring Ho Chi Minh with Mok Ying Rong. We had basically decided to run from the hostel to our place of interest, the zoo. Along the way, we came across this alley which has this really traditional and residential feel. “Let’s check it out”, I said. What I couldn’t have expected then, was that a local family down the alley whom we had asked to take a photo with, would actually invite us to sit down and have a beer with them in their home!

if there is a will, there is a way

These are only limited anecdotes that I am recounting now. I’ve had many other good experiences from training while backpacking across Europe and on other travels. My point is, perceived obstacles to exercising while travelling are by no means insurmountable— in fact, more often than not, they have added value! So, pack a pair of trainers and attire for your next weekend jaunt. I’ll bet that you won’t regret it 🙂

Ben Ooi is an Ironman Triathlete and younger sibling to two national water polo sisters. He qualified to compete in the World Ironman – World Championships 2017 in Kona, Hawaii. The SMU alumnus is currently working in the private sector and would love a South American holiday, anytime.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Race Weekend – 5 Things That London Marathon and Income Eco Run 2019 Share In Common

28 APRIL 2019 – For runners and running enthusiasts both in Singapore, and around the world, this weekend has been one that they have been anticipating and packed with exciting races. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon in history to win the Virgin Money’s London Marathon for a fourth time while Britain’s Mo Farah finished fifth. And just a mere 12 hours before that, NTUC Income’s Eco Run was on, against the scenic Singapore skyline backdrop! We bring to you, interesting observations on the 5 things these 2 races have in common!

1. decked in New Balance

This was the starkest commonality! As the official sponsor of both races, New Balance had dressed up the pacers in London’s NB Runner’s World Pace Team, as well as Singapore’s Running Department!

It’s also a bonus, when we meet this New Balance couple here in Singapore! New Balance Singapore Ambassador, Mok Ying Ren & his wife, Belinda.

2. values-driven title sponsors’

Virgin Money: “When it comes to banking, you want an honest deal with no surprises. So we’ll always tell you the things you really need to know up front.”

NTUC Income: “We are a co-operative where, quite simply, people come before profits. Our values set us apart from other insurance companies. They are what make us different. “

it is pretty obvious that they stand for doing business right, and not for profiteering.

3. IN SUPPORT OF a social cause

Being the official fundraising website for the Marathon, Virgin Money Giving has helped thousands of events and charities, big and small, throughout the UK raise hundreds of millions of pounds. This year, the London Marathon also broke the $1 billion mark in donations raised! And because it’s 100 per cent not-for-profit, an extra £9.5 million has reached charities because fundraisers used virginmoneygiving.com instead of a site with higher fees. (Source: London Marathon). In yet another first, London Marathon racers will be drinking from edible pods made of seaweed extracts instead of a plastic water bottle, and is part of the organisers’ initiative to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and its waste foot-print!

Locally, the 9th edition of NTUC Income Eco Run 2019 kicks off its 3rd year of ‘zero waste running’ with the introduction of its first Zero Waste 5km race category. More than 9,000 runners took to the street on this surprisingly cool Sunday morning in support of eco-conservation and green causes, with innovative measures such as re-usable cups for runners to refill at hydration stations during the race.

A fish sculpture at the Income Eco Run race village made up of plastic bottles

4. SPOT THE british

Alright, we were kidding about this! But in a comedic twist it isn’t too far off either!

The 2019 Virgin Active London Marathon was shaping up to be one of the most hotly anticipated spring race as many looked forward to another masterful performance by reining world record holder Eluid Kipchoge who remains unbeaten in all but 1 marathon in his career. His rivalry with 4-time Olympic medallist & one of Britain’s most accomplished runners, Sir Mo Farah, who has recently stepped up to the marathon distance and was looking to take victory on home soil, also added another dimension to the competition amongst the deep elite field assembled for a showdown. It was intense!

Back here in Singapore, it was a lot more light hearted! The Income Eco Run saw, amongst the 9,000 runners, a prolific author, broadcaster, journalist, and in his words – ‘1st runner-up in the 44 to 45 years old Men-who-don’t-puke-and-run 5km category’, Neil Humphreys. The Englishman quipped that he was very proud of himself for racing his heart out while his guts stayed intact, as he posed gamely for the photos!

Light-hearted, witty and fast-talking, best-selling author Neil Humphreys

5. Spot a ONEathlete!

ONEathlete Evan Chee (third from left, in black) racing at the 2019 London Marathon

Against the backdrop of intense speculation and spectatorship on the elite field, ONEathlete Evan Chee also waged his own race against the clock on the streets of London, in an attempt to lower his personal best (2:41:01) attained just 5 weeks ago at the 2019 Seoul Marathon.

Evan had felt that preparations had gone smooth and well since the beginning of the year, and hoped to ride on his earlier marathon fitness preparing for Seoul by straddling a short training cycle leading into London. He knew this was a risky move that could increase his risk of injury but also potentially pay off big dividends as he seeks a qualifying performance to represent Singapore at the 2019 SEA Games in December.

Evan’s bid paid off as he dipped under the 2 hour 40 minute mark to finish in 2:38:58 (unofficial), clocking a new personal best as well as what is understood to be the third fastest Singaporean Men’s Marathon finish in 2019, thus far. Evan’s sister and national marathoner, Yvonne Chee, also finished the race in 3:03:13 (unofficial). Congratulations to the Chee siblings, Evan and Yvonne!

ONEathlete Evan Chee having a post-race victorious moment along the streets of London!

Back in Singapore, running his first race as an ONEathlete at the 2019 Income Eco Run is marathoner Giebert Foo. In the half-marathon category, Giebert finished in 1:21:35 to clinch the Union Men’s Open Champion with a strong performance and officially kick off his 2019 racing season.

The veteran runner had started running from the track, representing his alma mater NYP in shorter distances such as the 1,500m before moving up to the marathon in recent years. At last year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, Giebert rounded up the podium in the Local Men’s category with a 3rd-place finish in a time of 2 hours 54 minutes.

Giebert’s partner, Esther Khoo, also bagged a respectable performance with a 4th place finish in the Union Women’s Open 10km race.

ONEathlete Giebert Foo (right) with his partner and fellow prize winner, Esther Khoo (left)
See you at the next race!
*Source information and photos of London Marathon from virginmoneylondonmarathon.com  

(Editor’s note – Evan’s results at the London Marathon is not the second, but third, fastest Singaporean Men’s timing in 2019 thus far. We apologise for the error, and the article has been amended as such)

[For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”]

A ‘love-hate’ Relationship In Tennis

SHAHEED ALAM – Don’t date a tennis player because ‘love’ means nothing to them. Some of you might be wondering what’s in this statement and looking for hints to my relationship status. Love can mean a lot of things to different people, but I’m not about to turn into a relationship expert here. When ‘Love’ is used during a tennis match, it refers to a score of ”0′, zilch, ‘kosong. Now that you have heard this interesting trivia about how tennis is different from other games, here are some of the basic rules to Tennis so you can learn how to fall in ‘love’ with it!  

The scoring system in tennis starts with Love (Zero), 15, 30, 40. Some say that they came up with these numbers based on the time on the clock but instead of 45, they selected 40 because it sounds better. It takes 4 Points to win a Game, 6 Games to win a Set, 2 Sets to win a Match and 7 Matches to win a Tournament. When a player reaches 40 and win that point, he gets 1 Game on the score board. While it normally takes 6 Games to win a set, any set that reaches a tie of 5 games apiece will be played on for 2 more games. If the deadlock continues and the set reaches 6-6, a tie-breaker game will be played to decide the set winner (whoever is first to win 7 points). Usually, a tennis match is played as a best-of-3 format so naturally the first player to win 2 sets would win the match.

Before the match starts, a coin toss would decide the player who begins serving first, with the winner of the toss awarded the choice to either serve or return first. If you don’t have a coin, you can always use your racket with the logo at the bottom of your grip representing ‘Heads’.

This side of the logo signifies ‘Heads’
This side of the logo signifies ‘Down”

A server starts each game on the right side and serves into the box diagonally left of them. If the first serve is a fault, a second service is allowed. However, two faults in a row (or what is colloquially known as a double-fault) will result in your opponent being awarded a point 😊.

If you’re playing a singles match, the alleys at the sides of the court are not considered within the play areas. That changes when you play in a doubles match and the play areas are expanded to include the alleys. During recreational or friendly matches amongst friends, there probably would not be an umpire so always be honest in your line calls! A very important thing to remember is that if the ball lands on the line, it means it is IN. 99% out = 100% in!

The difference between a tennis Singles and Doubles court

These are some of the basic rules and scoring system of tennis so the next time you play with your friends, ask them to not raise a racket when the game is not ruled in their favour! So the next time you Do follow my tennis journey on @shaheedalam98 on Instagram and feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions regarding the rules. Till next time, continue to #HitItLikesShaheed!

Shaheed Alam is a ONEathlete and Ambassador for Asics (Tennis) and Babalot. He is also supported by Grip String Sports and Pro’s Pro. The tennis prodigy had his first match at the age of 5, and progressed to the Singapore Sports School, before becoming the first male Singaporean to win the ITF Junior Singles Title.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

5 unique things about BB Blaze 2019!

13 Apr 2019 – Participants from ages 13 to 17 started streaming into the start location – the scenic Floating Platform – at 4.30am. They were sleepy, maybe, but undaunted, as they geared up for the annual (and may we add, grueling) BB Blaze 2019, an outdoor adventure and sport based trail race, organised by The Boys’ Brigade in Singapore.

1) Early Preparations

Preparations began as early as November 2018, kicking off with a preparation clinic by ONEathlete and former BB-boy himself, Ashley Liew. More about race prep clinic here!

Ashley Liew during his preparation clinic

2) Geared up by Mok ying ren

RunONE was also also on board as the Official Training Partner, allowing these young boys to train effectively in their lead-up to the competition, through a RunONE training programme created by Double SEA Games Gold Medalist, Mok Ying Ren.

Mok Ying Ren leading the youths in their warm up

It was thus apt for Mok Ying Ren to lead the 500+ boys in a set of dynamic warm-ups, also sharing medical/safety tips to keep in mind! He emphasized hydration tips – “Boys, remember to drink to the point of thirst” – as the organizing committee anticipated a very hot day.

Mok Ying Ren also mingled with the participants and heard them share about their planning phase and race strategies, before heading off for his hospital duties.

3) innovative race clocking 20+km in total

The organisers partnered with District Race – an innovative mobile app – to make the race more interactive and fun for the boys! If you had been in the city or Marina Bay area, you would have seen at least one of the 120+ teams in action.

4) camaraderie

We can learn a lesson about true sportsmanship just by observing as competitors mingled with one another, had fun together, and helped their ‘bros’! This characteristic of the boys from The Boys’ Brigade is quite the norm, but for any outsiders, it was a little more evident today.

5) Challenge Trophy & Social Media Challenge

What’s a competition without prizes? 5th Singapore Company, Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School (Team A106) and 14th Singapore Company, Anglican High School (Team A126) won the 3rd and 2nd prize respectively. Team A177 from 60th Singapore Company, Raffles Institution, emerged as the overall champion of BB Blaze 2019! They also received the coveted Winston Choo Challenge Trophy (named after the former BB Boy and former/first Chief of Defence Force (CDF), who flagged off the race in the morning). This was presented by Guest-of-Honour Dr Lily Neo.

Winners of the Top 3 positions

The Social Media Challenge was won by the 26th Singapore Company , Tanglin Secondary School, who took part actively with their creative posts to win $500 worth of sports gear, sponsored by RunONE.

While looking back on a challenging but rewarding BB Blaze 2019, we certainly hope that the months of training leading up to the race paid off!

Catch the video below for event highlights by the race organizers!

Tales of a Triathlete #3 – Kona in Photos (IM World Championship ’17)

Benjamin Ooi – The road to Kona was a (relatively) lengthy journey stretching across my qualifying race in Hefei the year before, and subsequent intensive preparations for the World Championship. Actually arriving on the Big Island for the race was another huge adventure in itself.

This trip involved a little more complexity than your typical overseas race. With the WC being the triathlon event of the year, the sleepy beach town of Kailua-Kona — if it can be considered a town — welcomes thousands of top pros and age-groupers, media, vendors, fans and supporters. Rooms in the surrounding areas are usually booked out months in advance. The streets bustle with incredibly fit-looking people, while traffic slows to a crawl.

Then, there’s a need to acclimatise to the infamous race conditions on the island. Most amateur athletes arrive in Kona at least a week before the event to settle in. They’d take a dip (literally) in the waters, experience battling the crosswinds, and familiarise themselves with the route that they’d be suffering on, in a few days. The weight of expectations to perform demands that no detail be spared in this final lead-up.

In my case, I was very fortunate to have the support of Mok and Bel who accompanied me and were a great help with my travel and race arrangements! This allowed me additional capacity to prepare without distractions and to (simply) enjoy and immerse myself in the process. Here are a few photos for the curious 🙂

Checking in… Lots to set up!
Post flights shake out swim
Mandatory coffee at sea
Ready to roll — Scouting ride to Hawi
Replenishing with Poke!
Rookie with Kona veteran Ling Er!
Face to face with ironman legends
Underwear run
Pros’ transition corner
Warm up is done!
How to ‘aero’ in crosswinds
One foot after the other. 9hrs in, 30km through the marathon — I think?
A painful jump shot…
Final call at the boarding gate
Anything is possible! I’ll see you at Kona soon!

Ben Ooi is an Ironman Triathlete and younger sibling to two national water polo sisters. He qualified to compete in the World Ironman – World Championships 2017 in Kona, Hawaii. The SMU alumnus is currently working in the private sector and would love a South American holiday, anytime.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Ashley Liew, ONEathlete

Media Response II – Apr 2019

09 Apr 2019 – In October 2018, Soh Rui Yong alleged that Ashley Liew did not slow down during the 2015 SEA Games marathon race.

SUMMARY OF EVENTS:

IGNORING THE FACTS

Soh had accused ONEathlete of ‘using personal attacks rather than sticking to facts’ on a Today Sports social media post on 02 April 2019. Despite the availability of sworn statements from witnesses in the form of the Statutory Declarations that were available for Soh’s review upon request, he has decided to ignore them and maintain his allegations against Ashley.

  • In 2015, Soh had won the 2015 SEA Games Marathon Gold. Ashley hung on to finish 8th.
  • In Oct 2018, Soh called himself a champion of the ‘truth’ by calling Ashley a liar. On 26 Oct 2018, Soh reiterated that Ashley was “conjuring, exaggerating, and circulating a fictional tale of sportsmanship … ”, Ashley chose to de-escalate.
  • In Apr 2019, Soh ignored witnesses’ sworn-in statements that contradicted his ‘truth’, and called Ashley a liar, again.
  • In Apr 2019, Soh refused to retract his allegations. He brands himself as the ‘rebel’ who won’t be intimidated and will see this as an opportunity to stick it out and make his point.

All this while, Ashley was faced with questions and doubted by many for doing the right thing during the race.  

MATERIAL EVIDENCE & WITNESSES

In response to suggestions that we provide GPS watch data from the race, unfortunately, Ashley was using a Timex analog (non-GPS watch) during the 2015 SEA Games Marathon, and up till Jan 2018.

ONEathlete understands that as of Oct 2018, no video evidence of the 2015 SEA Games Marathon race was available. The event was also not broadcasted. The existence of the statutory declarations containing the accounts of eyewitnesses as to what had transpired during the race is therefore of material significance, since these accounts not only form the best available evidence, but there would be no reason to doubt the credibility and accuracy of these independent, third party accounts given that it is an offence to make a false statement under the Oath and Declarations Act (Cap. 211).

Excerpt from 02 Apr 2019: Unlike those whom Soh claims to be his witnesses (such as Philippines athlete, Rafael Roliquit Jr, who had received coaching advice from Soh, as well as, two other individuals who were Soh’s coaches), we understand that these four individuals are independent witnesses who were prepared to and did, in fact, make sworn statements of what they saw during the race.That is the material difference – anyone can say anything you want on social media and get away with untruths and lies, but not so when you make statutory declarations.

We disagree with Soh’s suggestion that the witnesses’ statutory declaration lacks credibility. The 4 witnesses’ identities have not been publicly revealed, but they are far from nameless individuals. Soh does not even appear to be interested in who they are of what they have said since he has so far ignored SNOC’s offer to view the statutory declarations.

SHIFT IN POSITION

Soh had shifted his stance between Oct 2018 and April 2019. In Oct 2018, Soh definitively alleged that ‘Ashley did not slow down’. But in Apr 2019, he downplayed his allegations and claimed he ‘did not see Ashley slowing down’. The shift, while subtle, is significant and non-accidental. We believe that as a learned individual, Soh is aware of the difference implied in these two statements.  

EXERCISING LEGAL OPTIONS

“From a personal standpoint, I have not responded publicly to something like this because it is not my nature to fan any controversy. To me, staying silent on the matter was an exercise in de-escalation, not an admission of guilt.
However, with the insinuations continuing, I cannot remain silent anymore. I believe it is time to speak up and clear the air.”
– Ashley Liew, National Marathoner (ONEathlete)

Through his lawyer, Mark Teng of That.Legal LLC, Ashley Liew has sent a cease and desist letter requesting, amongst other things, that Soh retracts his statements and make a public apology.

It has been a challenging period and the decision, a tough one, for Ashley. However, no one should take his kindness for weakness. ONEathlete supports Ashley’s decision to seek the justice he deserves.

We hope that Soh will co-operate with SNOC’s and Ashley’s lawyers, to resolve this matter as amicably as possible and put this unnecessary matter to rest.

Regards,
ONEathlete Team

Tales of a Triathlete #2 – How to not have “Grown Old”

Any day, Anywhere.

Benjamin Ooi – Often when the subject of sports comes up in formal conversation, much of it revolves around the values it is said to imbue — you know, ‘mental resilience, competitive spirit or achievement’. While I agree wholeheartedly, of late I have come to advocate exercise quite simply for its role in supporting a healthy and wholesome life. Most people recognise good health and its accompanying benefits as something we truly deem priceless, that is clear. Yet, whether arising from of a lack of awareness and knowledge or a simple lapse in focus, many of us are surprised subsequently to discover that our bodies have undeniably deteriorated or ‘grown old’.

I myself have a fear of losing any silver of my independence and mobility as time passes. I dread to have to second guess myself: can I get from A to B, will the stairs be too strenuous/painful; will I be able to continue to adventure with just one overloaded haversack? Or with bulky 20kg bike box in addition?; am I able to swim/bike/run whenever I wish?

‘Bike-Packing’ Trip to Oxford

I’ve learnt, keeping a conscious awareness of your physical condition and current state of capabilities is essential. I once met at gym, a family friend in her early 50s who was adamant about her fitness because she had been very active when she was younger. She wanted to experiment with weights again, but that day, she was astounded to she realise that she could no longer perform certain simple body weight exercises! This friend of mine had shifted her priorities heavily into her work and her kids, forgoing her physical fitness, eventually losing all track of herself in this respect. While aging takes a toll on our bodies, and that’s normal, we can take control if we are aware and actively put in the requisite effort to maintain ourselves.

Here’s where sports comes in handy. When athletes engage in a challenging physical activity, we inevitably have an encounter the limits of our current abilities. However, as we internalise that these are merely soft-limits we start to understand how to push our capabilities. Over this process, we get stronger, faster and better at the chosen discipline, but not merely that. As we worked on building strength, endurance and technique, we developed a better understanding of our bodies and an awareness of it that transfers into everyday life.

Take for example, when I go up a particularly long flight of stairs (say at Batu Caves), I consider the following: 

How does my aerobic system feel performing this task? Is it unusually strained?; 

Am I engaging my glutes or quadriceps appropriately; 

What about the form of my weaker leg?; 

How does my chronic knee feel? Am I moving too fast?

These instinctive considerations form a basis of benchmarking and continuous improvement for me, much like a routine time-trial is a measure of running performance. Attaining an aware mindset provides input that helps us to keep track of our physical capabilities in areas that matter to ourselves, and take the highlighted steps towards our goals. Then still, there are little intuitive skills that one picks up in sports, such as learning to fall safely and understanding good form/core engagement when lifting heavy objects. While these aren’t achievements we might share about at an interview, their benefits are inherent and far-reaching

You might think that as a triathlete I would have more than enough disciplines on my plate to perfect. It is true, but over the years I have also dabbled in other sports completely distant to the realms of water, running or endurance races. I feel I have emerged better for it. Attending yoga had me truly realise that my inflexibility was ultimately a result of insufficient attention paid to stretching, and that it had caused me unnecessary strain to attain efficient techniques in swimming and cycling. Starting dance lessons finally activated my calves to function more fully and symmetrically in a way no amount of calf raises seemed able to achieve.

On-going Battle with Flexibility

My point is this, we all know (or at least acknowledge during CNY) that health is something we treasure deeply. Many of us also probably spend long hours standing or seated at work, and hardly on activities that bode well for our bodies. Athletes or not, if we neglect physical activities long enough we are sure to lose a sensing of our own health and fitness which then perpetuates a misguided cycle. So, rather than be caught surprised by how we have ‘grown old’, get out there, try something new and challenging this month, keep active and keep aware!

Ben Ooi is an Ironman Triathlete and younger sibling to two national water polo sisters. He qualified to compete in the World Ironman – World Championships 2017 in Kona, Hawaii. The SMU alumnus is currently working in the private sector and would love a South American holiday, anytime.

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