Beijing Open 2015

Para athletes are classified into different categories to ensure that the individuals in the categories have the same functionality with others he/she is competing against. It is sorta like a “license” to race, in particular, international races. Although being in the same category, there are always those who are at the top of the category and those who are at the bottom. This meant that although para-athletes are in the same class, they vary in functionality, strength, speed and perform. Given that, a race within a class is as open as it is for an abled body individual. That being said, shifting from one class to the next class is somewhat equivalent to changing the weight class in a boxing match. Imagine a feather weight going up against a middle weight. Gosh. But that’s how it feels like when a T36 meets a T37 in the para-world. Previously I was classified by the Australian “local” body that I am a T37 and without hesitation, I went online to have a look at the timings of some races.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. 
400m WR 50.91.
100m 11.65 Commonwealth games 2014.
1500m 4:08.11 London paralympics.
“Well, maybe I’m just put in a wrong class. It’s really impossible to be running at that pace…”
So here I am in Beijing, not just to represent Singapore in the 400m and 800m, more importantly, to get my official classification from the International Paralympic Community. 
So now, after review and testing from the International Paralympic Community, my official class is indeed still T37. 
“Wow. Is that even possible. How in the world will I run at that pace? Are these timing real?”
Athletics team manager (Loh) and myself after the classification.
So race day came as I continue to ponder. Maybe because this is my first international duty, I was seriously nervous. I even went for a solo 45min walk, 3 hours prior to my race. As I walked, I couldn’t shake off the pressure and tension that was slowly building up. How am I gonna win this race? .. 
Then I remembered, all I have to do is to do my absolute best. If I’m gonna get dropped, kudos to the other runners. It’s time to simply race against the clock, just like how I have always been doing. Time to better my best. Immediately, I started visualize how the 800m merging would be done later. Mental practicing the situation over and over again. And I also prepared myself to be dropped by the field. It was a very sad feeling. To go for a race only to be dropped. Then again, I thought of how I first started out with my Tri mates. I remembered being whooped by a talented 15 year old girl during my 400m repeats and vaporized by the rest of the boys in the 800m run. I smiled. I knew I was ready to run. I had raced with the best before. This is no different. It is my pleasure to race along side such talents. 
My cool Asics Top Impact Line + CyberJapan spikes.
The winner of my T37 class came in at an astonishing 2:10 for 800m and 53s for 400m. And I found out later that he broke the the Asia record in the 1500m. Now, I do believe the WR, Its simply amazing. Talk about being thrown into the deep end of the pool and competing against the best. 
Although I lost both the 400m and 800m, I was pleased that I have my all. My absolute.. And it showed. I broke both my personal best in the 400m and 800m. My coach once said this to me “it is about taking one step forward every single training, every race.” And true enough, as long as I work on myself, focus on doing the right things, I will be able to take more steps towards my goal. Every single step counts. Tokyo 2020.
With this 400m timing, I have unofficially qualified for the ASEAN Para Games. Will have to work on my 1500m because 800m event is unavailable during this meet. Let’s hope something’s left over from my marathon days. :)
Beijing Open has been a real eye-opener for me. Gonna work harder and to stop limiting myself.
Nil Sine Labore.
nervously waiting for the 400m
visualising just moments before the start of the race.

Lets go to… Beijing Open!

Today marks another milestone in my life. 
Today, I am on my first international duty. I am on my way to represent Singapore in the Beijing Open. Although this is not a big athletic meet, I hope this marks the start of more international duties and more importantly, me getting better and faster.
My favorite event till today is no doubt the marathon. I’m sure all my team mates know this. The longer the distance, the better I am. The fact that I hate sprint distance courses is no surprise. Well, for now, I have traded my marathon flats for track spikes. I will be competing in the 400m and 800m during the Beijing Para Open! Surprise surprise!! Even I am surprised.. 

I remembered how unsettled I was the day before my 400m time trial in February. I was so nervous that I had to message my coach and confess about my nervousness. And his reply was so simple, so absolute: 

Well, you have done lots of 400m repeats in your life. This is no different. It’s just another 400m. 

With this reply, I got my head screwed back on and I actually did really alright for my first ever sprint! 
And just 3 weeks back, we met up in Perth and he asked if I was ready for the Beijing Open. Being sick and all, I wasn’t confident at all. He then offered yet another priceless encouragement:
Well. It’s just 1% of the marathon distance isn’t it?
Thanks Grant. What would I do without you!! <3 div="">
I think what makes me really proud of this event is the fact that just over a year ago, I was still learning how to run. I remember the day when I was down at Busselton with James An, watching the rest of the of my awesome UWA Tri mates smashing themselves out in the Busselton half. I was so envious of everyone. Swimming, cycling and running their hearts out. Smashing their body minute after minute, hour after hour. As I watch them cross the finishing line one after the other, I had nothing but respect for them. I admired their courage, I felt their passion and happiness but I couldn’t feel the “pain” they were feeling. And that’s something I missed so much. To run my hearts out. Deep down I asked myself if I will ever do something so amazing again. 
Ever since my injury, there has been people who have (unintentional) put me down. They told me I’m not good enough. They told me I was too being greedy for wanting to be normal again. They told me to be realistic and face the fact I wouldn’t be normal again. I am thankfully for their harsh words, for it made me stronger. Im glad I saw every physiotherapy session as a training. And honestly, I am really glad I wasnt too concern about what was said. I just did what my coach alway tells me: there is no point in training if it aint challenging you.
For those who have encouraged me, who had the faith and courage to believe in a paralyzed man that he will indeed one day stand, walk and run again, I thank you. 
To those who had shed your tears for and with me, I’m sorry to have put you through such pain. I thank you for your love. 
To my friends from around the world: Rocktape Australia (Tony), Evolved physiotherapy (Neil & Evana), Acupoint Singapore (Diana) and Asics japan (Tadashi san), thank you for believing and assisting a broken man like me. This friendship will last a life time. 
To my family and fiancee, I love you!
You guys have no idea how much all these meant to me. This run is gonna be for all of you. Every single one of you. For believing in the impossible. 
As I approach the starting line this weekend. I will hold my head up. Because not only do I represent my country and friends from Singapore, but also my beloved friends from down-under and from the rising sun.
I might not be fast enough (yet), I will most likely be one of the slowest in the race. But Rest assured that I will do what I always have been doing: to give my absolute best, to better my best.
Nil Sine Labore. 
Indeed, at my own pace, I will better my best and I will reach the top!
Thanks buddy for this. Love it!! =)
Super cool color isnt it? Love Asics Japan.