#187 singapore olympic medalists

Today’s athletes or olympic silver medalists awarded $750K!

Tan Howe Liang, olympic silver medalist in 1960, was given a $10K by NTUC Income today but he was not rewarded at the time. Then, Singapore was not a rich nation… Considering the first olympic medalist, there must be some form of commendation.

(channelnewsasia.com}

How I wish Tan Howe Liang is officially rewarded for his achievement yesteryear! Wishing there is some form of recognition comparable to those who won today!

#181 olympic champions

The secret to these champions at the Olympic Games is sheer dedication, persistence and diligence (hard work), tears and disappointments together with the faithful support of one’s loved ones like mother or father.

It’s not the intake of special foods or drugs which the world record breakers in Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt! Their diet is as ordinary as you and I. Usain Bolt and the Jamaican medalists ate lots of yam (their staple diet?), an energy food.

Michael Phelps has a wonderful testimony where he did fumble in life along the way but he has the courage to make a comeback and stood tall on his achievements. Despite his attention deficit syndrome, his mother loved him the way he is and she must be one really proud mother today!

I recall reading Eric Liddell’s testimony where he ran 3 events in one day on the track and won gold medals in 1924 (France) — he enjoys training without shoes on the rugged mountains of Scottish highlands close to his church and where he lived.

The Indian medalists like Sushil Kumar, the wrestler and Vijender Kumar, the boxer (the Kumars are not blood relatives) lived in terrible conditions while training — without sponsors or government support.

The persistence and not giving up of Indian Abhinay Bindra, 25, won him gold in the 10m air rifle competition in the first few days of the Games.

I’m sure there must be unpublished stories of all the champions at the Games like the Kenyan marathon man, Sammy Wanjiru, who clocked 2 hours, 6 mins and 32 secs; and many African athletes and sportspersons who won medals.

Whatever has been said of the communist countries like China and Russia and others, one merit is the government nationally support the area of sports and athletics — and the athletes and sportspersons trained and performed with national pride!

Glad that these champions proved enhanced performance drugs is NOT the way to win!

#180 bronze for india’s unsung champion boxer

In post #152 Vijender Kumar was cited on BBC page as one who will compete at the Olympic Games ‘against the odds’.

The 22-year-old has returned with a bronze medal.

What an achievement for one true to his calling and vocation in sports in spite a lack of support from sponsors or government — his dedication, persistence and hard work…together with the support of his father.

photo taken from bbc international

…Kumar’s father, Diwan Singh, rode the bus an hour each way every day to bring his son a bucket of milk. To buy milk here in the city, where Kumar lived in a dingy room under the bleachers at Chatrasal Stadium, would have been too expensive. His father kept a buffalo at home, in a village on the outskirts of the city, and the family sacrificed so the son would not go without.

Kumar’s room at the stadium is lined with five wooden cots pressed close together for five burly wrestlers. Trousers hang from hooks on the wall. A pair of mice share the room. On an altar are the medals that each of the five have won along the way, next to images of Hanuman, the Hindu god that wrestlers in India revere.

…The father of Vijender Kumar, the boxer, could give him only his prayers.  (excerpt by Somini Sengupta)

#179 an exceptional 29th olympiad in beijing

The achievements accomplished by many athletes were beyond expectation…what contrasting backgrounds the two ‘icon’ athletes who broke the world record.

Usain Bolt, 21, 6ft 5in tall, track event, hails from Jamaica…an island in Caribbean Sea with a population of 2.7!

Michael Phelps, 23, 6ft 3in tall, swimmer who won 8 golds comes from the US where the continent has topped the medals’ list at almost every Olympic Games since…?

The US got the overall medal tally (110 medals) while China (100 medals) won the most gold medals (51). It appears the US athletes were consistent in the Games by achieving silver and bronze while China athletes were less consistent in performance. Were the Chinese athletes too tense to achieve their best?

I enjoy the gymnastics exhibition performance last evening. The Chinese performers who won gold at the Games were so natural on their equipments — they were more relaxed, confident, strong, agile and flexible. The two Japanese gymnasts on synchronised gymnastics on the trampoline were stupendous. Naturally the Russian rhythmic gymnasts were exceptional.

The lavish closing ceremony of the Olympics ‘one world, one dream’ theme ended with a bang…from drum beats, folk to popular music!

The Olympic flag was handed over to the next host London — their 3rd experience in hosting the Games. The mayor of London quipped outside the ceremony, “pingpong is coming home!” Ha ha…what does that mean? Is this good humor?

#178 nation-switchers to olympics

Is it unpatriotic to switch nationality to participate in the Olympic Games a dream many young cherished when they were found to have talents in the field of athletics?

Take for instance, the table-tennis paddlers, Li Jiawei, Wang Yuegu and Tang Tianwei who clinched the silver medal for Singapore — if they had remained in their country of birth, they might never have the chance to participate at the Olympics and much less winning a medal.

China had trained many young in sports and athletics and she has contributed much in this area. Will China reconsider training many of these sportspersons and athletes to one day lose them? Personally I hope not.

China and Russia are the two nations that nationally trained their athletes…which have become their nation’s pride yet placing a huge pressure on the individual athlete. I wish their athletes are able to enjoy the talents endowed…rather than competing for competing sake and for national pride.

Bernard Langat, born in Kenya, became US citizen last year and he won silver and bronze. For him, it was a way of fulfilling his dream and a show of gratitude to the adopted-country…

“It’s a dream that a little boy from Kenya has dreamt about and finally came true, and it didn’t happen by myself.

“From the coach who sent me to the United States, from the coach that I got from Washington State, and from the scholarship itself that came from the American taxpayers, American money… I am trying to give back to America what they gave me long before.”

Becky Hammon chose and represented Russia when she failed to make the US women basketball squad for the Olympics.

What does Olympic Games stand for? Talent in the area of athletics and sports…and a fulfilment of dream of the young.

#177 jamaica won 6 golds at 2008 olympic games

Jamaica is an island (area 4244 sq mi or 10,991 sq km) in Carribean Sea. She received independence in 1962 and has a population of 2.8 million. Literacy rate is 79%.

Yet the Jamaicans both men and women won gold medals in track events at this Beijing Olympics. Usain Bolt is the fastest runner in the world at 22 years old.

So in this sense, Jamaica top the medal table considering the size of population and land area!

Jamaica has set the example for smaller nations…the gold medals are within reach for aspiring citizens.

#176 china gymnasts falsify age?

I heard on BBC that China’s gymnasts who won gold were under age. Was there deliberate oversight in submitting the age on their part?

There is always confusion for those outside of China to know the age of the China Chinese.

Even for one who is born in Singapore, growing up, I was always confused about my age until I applied for my national identity card when I was twelve.

If you asked me what year my parents were born or their birthday, I couldn’t tell you. You see the Chinese go by their Chinese calendar year.

I was befuddled with the age of some of my China-born friends living in China or those who never went abroad. Many of them don’t give you the actual date of their birthday…so when celebrating their birthdays, the day changes with our calendar year. This is NOT INCONSISTENT as the Chinese go by their Chinese calendar year. For unknown reason, the Chinese always add 2 years to the day they were born.

Is this being dishonest? A lie? A stripping of the medals?

Surely not…when this is cultural difference in interpreting age or the day they were born.

#175 the true olympian spirit

That capture my heart are not just the medal winners but that put a smile on my face and lift my spirit.

Japan’s Ai Fukuhara  who lost to China’s best table-tennis player Zhang Yining, said beamingly:

“I played very well today and I’m very satified. I demonstrated everything I learned in the training, so I give myself 90 points (out of 100),” the 19-year-old said, her eyes twinkling with joy.

Sadly the American track and field teams were not able to win a medal: men had won since 1924 and women, 1948. Unfortunately both men’s and women’s relay team dropped the baton! The Jamaicans dominated these events. Tyson Gay, one of the fastest and best athlete, admitted without excuse he disappointed the team when he dropped the baton at the men’s relay –it was just one of those days. I admire Tyson Gay for his graciousness and he IS indeed one great athlete in the world!

#174 ‘Palestinian swimmer beats all odds’

Palestinian Zakia Nassar is a true Olympian at heart and she deserves a gold medal for her spirit and valor…indeed she has fulfilled her Olympic dream.

I lifted this from chinadaily.com.cn…

A 21-year-old Palestinian swimmer embodied  the Olympic spirit and fulfilled her lifelong ambition to compete at the Olympics last week and she deserves a gold medal for her tenacity.

Zakia Nassar had neither a coach nor access to an Olympic-sized pool for the past year but didn’t let that stop her.

Nassar, who is currently studying dentistry, had no option but to train on her own at a 12m public pool.

The coach Nassar had a year ago left her to her own devices when the 25m pool in Bethlehem was closed down.

“There is no pool in Jenin where I am studying,” she said.

“So I can swim only once or twice a month when I go back to my parents’ home in Bethlehem.”

There is a 50m pool in nearby Nazareth, but the Israeli government does not permit her to use it.

Nassar said it was often embarrassing trying to train at the public pool, with other people swimming and splashing around.

“Sometimes people cut across me, and others would get angry when I swam into them. But quite a few made way for me,” she said.

“I got so depressed sometimes I couldn’t help crying, but my parents and friends encouraged me, reminding me that I had to keep training if I really wanted to go to the Olympics.”

It was only when Nassar arrived in China a month ago that she finally got the opportunity to swim in a 50m pool and enjoy the benefits of having a coach.

When she at last took part in the Games, she swam the 50 m in 31.97 seconds, an improvement of 7 seconds on her personal best.

Despite her time being good enough only for 79th place, Nassar said it was “the most beautiful moment” of her life.

“Participating in a race at the Olympics was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said.

“It felt like I was flying.”

But she is not sure if she will go to the next Olympics.

“I won’t compete unless I’ve done the right training. But as swimming is in my soul, I’ll probably be a coach in my spare time.”

 

#173 lightning bolt

Usain Bolt, a couple days to his 22nd birthday, broke the 100m and 200m sprint record. He broke Carl Lewis record clocked in 1984. Usain Bolt, 6ft 5in tall, is the fastest man on earth…how long will this record last?

Born in Jamaica on 21 August 1986, after this victory, he might consider changing citizenship?

He will be a loss for one country and a gain for the adopted…Olympics in 2012 will be in London. Will he run for London then and bring glory to that nation?

It appears those descending from the African race are dominating the track and field events today and are world’s fastest runners…an interesting phenomenon!