Shalindran Sathiyanesan is our top junior sprinter. His potential lies in his pet event of 400m where he has a personal best of 50.20 seconds achieved this year at the 55th Akira Swift Meet
He has exponentially improved by leaps and bound after joining his school track & field team, Millennia Institute in 2006. Shalindran admits he attributed his remarkable improvement after Alfred Sim, the current SAA’s youth development coach was appointed as his school athletics coach
He was even thrusted a spot in the national team by representing Singapore at the SEA Games 2007 Thailand where he particpated in the 400m individual and the 4x400m relays. But the games holds bitter memories for him as his injuries forced him to pull out during the competition.
Now faster and stronger two years on, Shalindran Sathiyanesan is proving to be a fine sprinter. He aims to progress from his junior status and aim to represent the nation at senior level for years to come. Here is his our interview with him below
Name: Shalindran Sathiyanesan Height: 1.72m Weight: 56kg Date of Birth: 3rd April 1989
Mr Alfred Sim (2006-Current)
100m – 11.16s
200m – 22.56s
400m – 50.20s
1st Progressive Meet
400m – 51.46sec
100m – 11.24sec
1st All Comers
200m – 22.70sec
2nd All Comers
100m – 11.37sec
400m – 51.32sec
Sports School Invitational Meet
100m – 11.16sec
4x100m Nat Squad – 42sec
Tell us of your current situation. What are you doing now?
Well, I’m currently a final year student in Millennia Institute. I’m studying quite intensively for my A levels 2008 exams, so no more overseas competitions for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to secure a spot in our local university.
Shalindran (middle) potential evident from his top placing. Photo by Gio
Your recent high level competition was the Asian Junior Athletic Championships 2008, tell us about the trip and the event(s) you took part. How was the level of competition of the Asian athletes compared to Singapore
The trip was a very enriching experience for me as I got to meet Asian athletes. It was really astounding to see their built and performance. The other competitors were so huge that I felt so tiny. I took part in 4x100m, which we sadly came in 4th, and 4x400m, which we attained 7th.
Well, I would say the level of competition is very stiff and we need to have full support from our organisations, like SAA, Sports Council, etc, to raise the level of our standards in order to compete in Asia. Athletics itself is not that glamorous in the local scene as compared to other countries.
Last year you went to SEA Games 2007 and in your individual event, you didn’t quite finish the race if I’m not wrong. What happened there?
I ran only 50m of my 400m race. I was actually testing out my blocks and I felt that my first block test was not good. So I tried to improve on my next starts after adjusting a little. For my 2nd block starts, I did a really good start but I felt this pull in my left hamstring and started limping after my 3rd step.
I thought that I could still run the race but once the gun went off, I ran only 50m before dropping to the floor. I had to be stretched out on a stretcher and sent to the Hospital for medical treatment. It was definitely a depressing and frustrating moment. I had this hamstring problem since May last year and it kept coming back even though I went for treatment.
Tell us of the SEA Games in perspective, the athletes, the crowds, the atmosphere, etc. Returning from your maiden SEA Games participation, how has it benefited you; wiser and more experienced perhaps?
I was very happy and fortunate to be chosen to represent my Nation for such a big and high level competition. It was an amazing learning experience. The competition was incredible, looking at the best in Southeast Asia region, with amazing time and distances in all the events. It was really an eye opener. The crowd there was just extraordinary and fantastic. Everyday was like the final day of Singapore National Schools. A large crowd would turn up despite some events being heats only. There would be so many supporters and even the Thai Cheerleaders would cheer for the Singapore team when we ran.
On the final day of SEA Games, the stadium was so noisy that you had to scream just to be heard by the person beside you. Outside the stadium, there was also a lot of excitement with random people coming to take pictures and autographs from us. The Athlete’s Village provided a really fun and exciting experience for me especially in the canteen where there was a huge variety of food and unlimited supply of Milo. Although I did not complete my race, I believe international competitions are crucial in helping me to progress and reach new marks as the experience is always invaluable as it motivates me to excel further.
Our top junior sprinter future looks bright
You’re quite the ‘quiet’ achiever. At the junior level, you only made significant improved timings as of early last year as I observed. What are the factors that influenced in your drastic leap of improvement in your running and achievements?
Haha. I would say it was all thanks to Alfred’s trainings. I did workouts which I had never done before which include weight sessions. Alfred also trained more on my speed since I had the endurance already. Another factor would probably be my determination to achieve something since I’ve been in this sport for so long yet remain stagnant all this while. I followed Alfred’s instructions and it helped me to improve my timings quickly.
In 2006, when Alfred took over us, I was 17th in National Schools for 400m with timing of 54seconds. However, in my first 400m race in 2007, the Singapore Junior Athletics, I ran a 51.37secs to win the race. It was really a big shock to me and that achievement became a morale booster and made me want to go further to scale greater heights.
How did you get started with Track & Field?
I ran 60m, 100m and 200m in my primary school’s sports day (ACS) and I won gold in all the events I took part in. So my parents encouraged me to join this CCA.
When I was young, my parents, sister and I would go to Bukit Gombak Stadium to run and practice too. That was how I got interested in this sport. My dad is also an athlete who currently represents Singapore for the Singapore Masters Athletics. He’s a middle distance runner and an inspiration to me.
How do you prepare before a meet/run?
Normally before a meet, I try to be as focused as possible. I visualise how I should run the race on each curve and straights, how I come out of the blocks instantly as soon as I hear the gun sound and when do I increase my speed. All these thoughts run through my mind hours before the race. When I’m in the call room, I just stay relaxed and think about enjoying the race.
Shalindran in Millennia Institute colors. Photo by Gio
When running 400m, what is your tactics usually? Tell us a little on your running form
Ok, this is quite tough. To date, I do not have any specific tactics. I have been trying out different tactics for this year to see which works best for me. But as a whole I would try to blast off the blocks, cruise the next 100m, and blast again to the finish line.
It is always the last 100m that is the most painful yet crucial part of the race. I think my running form is alright because most coaches I had, commented that I have a good running form. However, I do have a problem with my arm swings. I can’t make my arm swing as close as possible to my body. I am trying to fix that by staying relaxed when I run
Training wise, what is your routine like? A little insight into your training
I train 3 times a week. Mondays are normally speed workouts. On Wednesdays, it is endurance where I do workouts with little rest in between. And lastly on Fridays, I do weights to strengthen myself. Sometimes I do block starts after my weight trainings. Most of these trainings are around 2 hours long including warm ups and warm downs with stretching.
What motivates you to train?
I guess the environment I am in now. Previously back in my secondary school days, I was not as committed as compared to now. In fact when I came into MI, I was in x-country. Only 2 months before national schools then did I decided to go back to sprinting.
And that was around the same time Mr Alfred Sim joined our school to coach. Alfred’s trainings were somewhat different from what I used to do previously. And that made me want to attend trainings as each session was something new and motivating to look forward for.
I still remember back when I was in secondary school, I used to skip my trainings as the running spirit was lacking in me.
What do you think you are lacking and need to focus on now?
My starting and the ending of my 400m race are really bad. I’m always the last one of the blocks and I start my first 100m really slowly. As for the ending, I need to be mentally stronger to fight the lactic as I approach the finishing line. Also, I need to bulk up a little. Many people think that I run long distance because I am skinny
What is your goal for this year and what is your long term goal?
My goal for this year would be to do a Personal Best in National Schools. As for my long term goal, I’m not really sure yet. But of course representing Singapore in major competitions would be my aim.
Shalindran in lane 4 (22.56sec 1st). 200m U20 Boys 34th Singapore Junior Athletics 2008
How has your family, training mates, coach & friends support made any impact on you & your running?
My family had been an encouragement and motivation since I was a kid. During weekends, my dad, mum and also my elder sister would all change to our running gear and start jogging to our nearby garden. My dad would make me follow him to jog around the jogging pavements. I started this around 3 years old and had the stamina to run a mile too. We even used to run the Sheares Bridge Run etc every year as a family. They provide me with the proper nutrition, running gear and advice me on how to balance my track and academics to make sure I am on the right track. Till today, they would come watch the races I take part in.
The MI Track and field team is an excellent bunch of people. They have also played a role in keeping me active in this sport. They have been very supportive and look out for me whenever in competitions or during trainings. They have also helped me academically when I have been lagging behind due to overseas competition trips.
My coach, Alfred Sim, has also helped me a lot during the past 2 years or so. He not only trains us on the track but also encourages us to balance trainings with our school work which is something I think most of the coaches don’t do. He’s a role model to me as he has a really hectic schedule but balances it really well. Furthermore, I have learnt a lot from him as well.
The Olympics are coming up, any athletes you’re rooting for? Any predictions from you?
Well, there are quite a number of athletes that I would be supporting. But the athlete that tops the list would be current 400m Champion Jeremy Warriner. As for the century race, I would be rooting for Usain Bolt to run down all the other athletes as he is still young and capable.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years down the road?
Firstly, I have to complete my NS. If Safsa wants me to represent them, I would be happy to do so. After that, if I get into a local university, I’ll represent them and hopefully the State as well. Eventually, I want to win some medals in the International competitions as well and bring glory to my family, friends and Nation.
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