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AKIRA Swift Track & Field 2007
  • June 17th, 2007

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Swift Athletics Club, being the oldest track and field club in Singapore and in Asia, I’m sure by the numbers of years under ‘them’, they usually lead by example on how to organize and execute an athletic event. But I find plenty of things amiss during this two day event 16-17th June.

But then again, it is the only sole athletics club that’s holding a local track and field meet here in Singapore, considering there’s no other athletics club to ‘rival Swift in a healthy sort of way. Well ‘legally’ that is anyway … that’s a whole new topic we shall ponder upon next entry.

This reporter was impressed by the Swift meet program list when it was finally distributed, a week before the actual event. You have categories ranging from the Under-15 years old to the Open section. It was indeed a packed schedule starting from morning until the evening for two days. Kudos to Swift for taking up such a ‘big’ and huge effort in promoting athletics in Singapore but however I feel yesterday huge participation lacked the necessary staff and volunteers. For example

Some of the key areas was even manned by kids. At the tag number collection area, upon query of the program list missing from my envelope or why only one side of the number tag is given (front only, back number tag missing), they couldn’t answer my queries. Usually a program list and two number tags front and back is given for meets local or overseas.

There was no result for the morning session. Everyone headed to the usual area where SAA would usually put up the results for such meets, but it seems Swift perhaps either has printing malfunction or they are keen on paper recycling. To not know your result after your effort is very annoying, I’m sure plenty of you might agree on this. This reporter only noticed them pasting the result for the afternoon session.

There was also an issue with the start list. Swift didn’t upload it online to their website before their meet itself, so no one knows which heat or lane they’re in nor can’t they estimate which time they should arrive and warm-up for the meet. The event program list was only uploaded late into the last week before the Swift meet. It was however commendable for them to make-up for that by printing the start list on actual day itself, but the list still lack the times when the events would be ‘flagged’ off. It would be helpful to know what time is your event. I’ve seen some coaches with the start list but plenty of participants like this reporter lack it however. Such discrepancies, how come they have it, while we the majority don’t?

It was even reported that Wang Kan, our young long jumper broke and smashed the Singapore long jump record with a 7.4 meter plus effort, but it wasn’t recognized as the wind gauge was not in operation. So the jump was not legal and deemed invalid. This reporter saw the wind gauge there, complete with a staff operating it when I passed by the long jump pit, but I guess during that record jump, the wind gauge was out of operation? Out of batteries perhaps or was it human error. We shall never know unless there’s an official statement out by Swift but I reckon there won’t be one. I think it’s the cruelest of all sports injustice, to not have your record recognized just because the equipment is ‘faulty’ . The poor kid got himself injured anyway on his second jump attempt, probably trying to emulate that record breaking jump and overexert himself over the disappointment.

The water point even was unmanned. Athletes after their run or effort, they’ve cold plain water to drink-up to. I’ve been to overseas meet and most of the time they offered Gatorade, Milo or any form of drinks to quench your thirst and replenish back your energy but not Swift meet I guess. The athletes paid a certain amount for the entry fee, they could at least top it up with Sunkist or Glucose. If I wanted cold plain water, I could get it free at McDonald’s.

Overall it was a big meet that’s under-staffed. I do hope Swift will look into this. These are just some constructive criticism and feedback from an observer and athlete point of view. Swift is an old club with a legacy that holds the future of Singapore athletics. It can only improve, surely it can’t get any worse than this and I do hope it will improve with it’s next meet.

Disclaimer: This observation was based on Day 1 of AKIRA Swift Track & Field 2007. Day 2 might be better and different. Good luck to all the athletes!

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Posted by Uncle Sha.
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