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Post SEA Games Interview – Md. Jamal Amirudin, “Even if my legs broke, I was going to chase the Thai”
  • December 28th, 2009

SingaporeAthletics.com a few days back, we brought you a post SEA Games interview with triple jumper Stefan Tseng.

This time round, we chat with Md. Amirudin Jamal regarding his record breaking 4x100m run in Laos, and his opinion on the state of local athletics.

Photos courtesy of Elfi Mustapa.


Md. Amirudin Jamal

Amirudin in Laos posing with his SEA Games 4x100m silver medal

Amirudin in Laos posing with his SEA Games 4x100m silver medal

Gender: Male

D.O.B: 03/Mar/1987

Affiliation: Wings Athletics Club, NUS

Coach: Melvin Tan

Post SEA Games result: 100m 10.61s 4th (PB) and 4×100m 39.82s 2nd (NR, PB)


So the SEA Games is over, what are you doing currently.

Right now I’m just taking a break from training and coaching the NUS Eusoff hall track team. I wish I could find some part time work but it’s quite difficult to find a job that allows me to juggle my commitments.

Going into the SEA Games Laos what was your goals, and expectations.

Initially when I went to Laos, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be running at all so mentally, I told myself that it’d be great if I was selected to run, if not, I’ll just try harder next time. When I was informed that I would be running the 100m I just focused on running and enjoying myself and put behind everything that happened over the year. After all running is about the passion.

What was the normal daily routine when you were at Laos.

Routine at Laos is basically waking up at 8am, breakfast around 8.30am, and boarding the bus at 9.30 am to reach the training grounds.

There we trained a bit, had lunch before taking our afternoon nap. Dinner and daily briefing is usually at 8 or 9 pm. We did go out on a few occasions to watch the soccer matches and do some gift shopping.

How was your SEA Games village experience?

It was pretty good all things considered. They provided towels, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste and there was daily housekeeping. So yeah, it was a pretty comfortable stay at the village. And they did attempt to provide entertainment every night with musical performances and stuff at the central square in the village.

There were debates over your selection for the 100m, doubting the timings achieved at the Asean University Games by you and Poh Seng Song. From your point of view, tell us what happened there. Was there or wasn’t there any wind gauge? Do you consider 10.52s at AUG or 10.62s at Laos your PB?

Regarding the AUG issue, in all honesty, as far as I was informed, the timings were electronically timed although I have to admit that it was a little bit too fast at the point in time. There was no wind reading on the results slip. With so many issues regarding the time, I’d rather count the 10.62 in Laos as my PB.

You were close getting on the podium, agonizingly third and fourth spot was separated by 0.01 seconds. Share with us of your 100m finals.

Regarding the 100m, it all started early in the morning of the day. I woke up as per normal and had breakfast, after which, I rubbed on some traditional massage oil to warm up my legs and went for a short jog around the village.

Amir wished he had dived more in the 100m men's finals in SEA Games. The 22 year old missed out on a bronze medal by 0.01s

Amir wished he had dived more in the 100m men's finals in SEA Games. The 22 year old missed out on a bronze medal by 0.01s

The night before I was informed that I was going to be in the easier semi-final. During the semis, I went for an automatic qualification spot cause the finals was only 2 hours later and I wanted to be able to conserve as much as possible for the finals.

After all, there were only 11 participants for the 100m. After the semis, I went back to the practice track, got a light massage from the Recovery Centre staff and asked Mr Philippe Steiner to realign my body.

I didn’t know what lane i was going to be in but I prepared myself mentally for the worst. When I found out in the call-room that I was to run in lane 8, I just kept myself focused to just run my race and not to think about others.

During the run itself, I was only vaguely aware that out of the blocks I was behind Poh Seng Song but I knew I had to let my body do its thing which it did.

As I crossed the line, I turned to my left cause in all honesty I had no idea where I stood in the field. When I saw Fadlin coming in about the same time as I did, I had a glimmer of hope that I would get the bronze.

The crowd and reporters were all shouting to me from the stands asking if I got the bronze. I was aware that Wibowo had set a new record and he was celebrating but I was only concerned about finding out if I got the bronze.

When the news was broken to me, I became a mixed bag of emotions. There was a part of me that was happy that I had come so far and was able to perform, but there was another that grieved for missing out on the bronze by 0.01s.

If you were to relive your SEA Games in Laos once again, is there anything you would do differently?


The 100m finals race courtesy of Thai TV

I wouldn’t change anything preparation-wise because I believe that I had done everything possible. But if you were talking about the race, maybe I would dive across the line.

You were at late replacement for Izwan Firdaus, what was the rationale behind the change by the 4x100m national sprints coach, Hamkah Afik?

After the 100m finals, coach Hamkah Afik told me that he was a fair man and that he wanted to put the fastest four to run in the relay.

Were you able to execute your competition plans by your coach (Hamkah and Melvin) successfully for the 4x100m finals. What was told of you for the finals?

The only thing that I was instructed to do was wait for Cheng Wei (3rd leg) to cross the check-mark and run as fast as I can when he did.

I was really impressed by how well the rest of the team was running and felt that maybe we could make the Thais sweat a bit.


The SEA Games 4x100m finals, courtesy of Thai TV

I feel that I could have run faster if not for the twinge in my calf as I was taking off but I told myself, even if my legs broke, I was going to chase the Thai team as much as I could and finish the race.

The thought of Wibowo being behind me and trying to gun me down did not cross my mind at all. I didn’t think that we would go under 40s though and I thought that I had let the team down again, but when Veera came and told us our time we just went berserk and started celebrating like there was no tomorrow.

I even forgot about my cramp for a while.

Tell us about your coach, Melvin Tan.

Coach Melvin Tan from Wings Athletic Club

Coach Melvin Tan from Wings Athletic Club

Mr Melvin Tan is a very passionate and a family-centered man. A man of ideals. He is a close friend and mentor.

Share with us the relationship you have with your coach.

I started training with him back in the days when I was in Victoria Junior College and he’s been my coach since.

Tell us of the arrangement of being trained under Melvin Tan. How has your coach helped to develop you all these years.

He’s not once asked for payment and even offers financial assistance if I needed it.

Share with us some of the sacrifices made by your coach.

I understand that he’s had to sacrifice family-time since he was traveling all-over to coach. He used to drive me back home on some days last time.

Tell us of your own sacrifices. What do you think you’re missing out, being a full-time student and juggling with training/sports. Do you even feel that you’re missing out on anything, or the sports itself is your own self-gratification.

Sometimes I do admit that I feel a little left out compared to some of my other friends. I don’t hang out a lot and sometimes it’s a bit hard to answer my friends when they ask me to hang out with them but I can’t cause I have training.

It gets even harder when people ask me why I’m doing this and why I’m wasting my time on sports. There’s just no future in it they said.

But I’m doing this because I love running and I want to see just how far my legs can take me. I’m lucky that I have a very understanding family, girlfriend and a group of close-knit friends who are always ready to support me.

During competition period, on a weekly basis how often do you train.

I still train about 4 times a week or more during competition period. If you would like to learn more, kindly approach Mr Tan at http://www.wings.org.sg to share with you.

What are your plans for the next season. Goals and expectations for the next SEA Games 2011 in Indonesia?

Every season it’s the same. Look back on weaknesses and see how things can be improved and clock better times in the year ahead. I would very much like to be able to compete in the next SEA games but I’ll take it one step at a time. We’ll see where life takes me.

If there anything in your current pursuit for gold that needs changes or more support.

The 4x100m squad, with national coach Hamkah Afik (bottom right). Clockwise Poh Seng Song (reserve), Gary Yeo, Elfi Mustapa, Lee Cheng Wei, Amirudin and Izwan Firdaus (reserve)

The 4x100m squad, with national coach Hamkah Afik (bottom right). Clockwise Poh Seng Song (reserve), Gary Yeo, Elfi Mustapa, Lee Cheng Wei, Amirudin and Izwan Firdaus (reserve)

I don’t believe that just going for more races is the answer to performing. Selecting races that have high-class venues and good competition would be better. I would like to see a high-class racing venue available in Singapore.

The Gombak Track and Bishan Track are not as fast as some of the others that I’ve been at not counting the Mondo ones. Overseas training camps might prove to be fruitful.

I strongly believe that we have much to learn from the Japanese for example.

What do you think can be done to improve the state of local athletics.

I think that we need to revive the inter-club activities again. I would very much like to see more people competing. Not just those from secondary schools or the national team. But a very vibrant scene with friendly rivalries at all levels.

What are your opinion on the SSC/MCYS vs SAA spat and war of words.

Let them fight. I just want to concentrate on my running. I just hope that the SAA will improve itself such that this does not happen again.


Thank you Amir for your participation.

Please contact me using the below form if there’s any individual or corporate entity who wishes sponsor and be part of Amirudin exciting sporting journey.

[contact-form 1 “Contact form 1”]

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Posted by Uncle Sha.
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