Monday, December 15, 2008

1974 balestier hill cross-country running team

1974 was one of our glorious years in the cross-country running competitions. balestier hill technical's 'b' division boys team emerged sixth in the team championship (the first sixth teams were awarded prizes) but the crowning glory was the capture of the individual championship title by our top runner, wong wing choy. it was an unexpected win; we had been confident that he would feature among the top ten but when we saw him coming down the home stretch ahead of everybody, we were deliriously shocked.

i cannot recall the names of all the runners but i can still remember wing choy, wai lum, chye hock, fang kee, beng kee and gopal. fang kee was an enthusiastic runner and attended training regularly but he did not participate in this particular competition because he was outside the age range. gopal was an 'import'; he was transferred to balestier from a school which did not offer technical subjects at secondary three level.

the boys seated in front with me were my form class students who went there to provide moral support.

apart from our training runs at macritchie reservoir grounds, we also did road runs - thomson road, whitley road, bukit timah road and back) and circuit training in school. we had more boy athletes than girl athletes. my former colleague thai soon and i would run with the athletes. although, my friend and colleague then was basically a 400m runner, he could keep pace easily with the long distance runners.

at that time, i could complete the 4.8km course in under 17 minutes, so i could stay with the front runners most of the time but i could not get anywhere close to the top runner wing choy. for most training sessions, we alternated between fast and slow runs along the first part of the course and then went as fast as we could maintain for the rest of it.

cross-country runners make natural big walkers. some of these boys also took part in the first new nation big walk in which we emerged the champion school in the team section in that inaugural walk. the win was 'sweeter' because we beat the team from raffles institution to take the top spot.


Icemoon said...

Is that yg in the photo? The one in the outstanding shirt.

yg said...

icemoon, you forget that we oldies were young once.

Lam Chun See said...

Wah ... 4.8 km in 17 min is really good. Somemore it is not flat ground. Got remember wrongly on not :)

Icemoon said...

Zhun boh? That translates to 3.54 min per km. So if he were to run 2.4km, he would only need 8 1/2 minutes. Of course he would need less time as the distance is halved.

Imagine 2.4km in 8 minutes .. you know how fast that is or not? Most commandos cannot even achieve that.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess ! yg is the one at the bottom right of the photo ?

yg said...

i used to be a cross-country runner. my best time for the course was 16:58. when i did timed runs with the boys, i consistently finished slightly over 17 min. we usually had two or three runners who could do complete the course in just over 17 min. i think my best athlete (wing choy)'s time for the course was 16:32.

yg said...

andy, i was the teacher-in-charge, seated on the ground with my legs crossed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr yg

Hi! I am Joanna Chong, a current teacher in Balestier Hill. We are celebrating 50th Anniversary this year, could we use some of your images and stories from your blog? Met Mr Phang and Mr Peng recently, they said you were a teacher during their time. Mr Chia was trying to get you too to ask for permission.