Interview by Andrew Octavian
Track and field is a form of sport which combines running, jumping, throwing, and a whole lot of energy. We managed to ask some questions about this sport with one of the captains of the IMU Track and Field team who is actively involved in the field of sports. Check out what Kok How (in green in the picture below) has to say about some questions regarding this sport and how it is around IMU and Malaysia.
What is Track and Field to you and how do you keep yourself motivated in delving into this field of sports?
Track and field is a test of determination, dedication, will power and courage of individuals. Athletes go through strenuous training which is physically and mentally demanding, not to mention time consuming. I also believe in hard work, and that those who have respected the training and honoured their commitment will cherish the results.
The reason why I run is quite simple really. I enjoy the satisfaction and the achievement I get from it, there’s all there is to say. It can be difficult to just aim to be successful, so I set targets every year and work hard to achieve them. That way, I not only shorten the gap to be successful, I also improve every time.
How is the team doing and what are your activities throughout the year?
The MAPCU competition is usually during the middle of the year, and we start training around February. Training is light at first, and it gets progressively tougher as we close in to the competition. Currently we train 4 times a week, resting on a weekday and on weekends. We’ve ran on the track, we’ve tread on numerous road, we’ve even crossed on sandy terrains and conquered many hills. We also alternate our trainings with beach volleyball, workouts with improvised equipment, and sometimes you will see us around IMU doing our core workouts.
IMU MAPCU Track & Field team has always been known to have the strongest team spirit. We go in with our heads held high, and win or lose we come out together stronger than ever. With talented athletes who come on board and the iron-willed dedication of the team, we are among the favourites of winning the competition.
What was it like to be a non-professional athlete to make it all the way to the finals of the competition you participated in?
I recently joined this competition called All Comers Meet, taking part in the 400m. The event was something like a state meet, and participants from outstation such as Melaka and Perak have come to show what they have to offer. Despite the tough competition, I managed to enter the finals. I was quite nervous because I was competing with national-level athletes, but I kept telling myself even if they were better, I would still give them a really good fight. I did manage a 6th placing in the end. One thing about these open competitions is you will never know what to expect. While it is a good place for exposure, it can be quite nerve-wrecking.
What would you say you would improve on in the long run in terms of this sports?
I guess the most important change needed to improve IMU’s quality in track and field or sports in general is a sports department. Sports is a well-established part of universities as is evidently seen in varsity championships all over the world and it helps to promote the university. Other universities like HELP, Sunway and Taylors have their own sports department which manages and organizes any of the universities sports events.
As for the MAPCU Track and Field team, Coach Keney has gone a long way to help continue the legacy we have in the MAPCU competition, as well as the MIVG competition. He was a national hurdler back in the 1990s, bringing glory to Malaysia during its Golden age in track and field. With his guidance, we have emerged champions in the MIVG since its establishment and minimum 2nd overall in MAPCU (winning in the years 2009 and 2011). The students in IMU change almost yearly, and he is the one who coordinates the students in every shift of athletes.
Any qualms in your term within the team?
Our team has 3 captains; me, Johann Ashaari and Deanna Nicole Lee. From handling attendance to recruiting members to balancing with studies, the life of a captain and student is one hell of a ride. We are many a times faced with situations where exam periods coincide with training. We do our best to work around the busy schedule, balancing training and study time. Together we strive towards our common goal, reminding and encouraging one another that we are all in this together and pour our heart and soul into preparing for the competition. We’ve worked hard, and we intend to do our best in the competition.
Any words of advice to track and field enthusiasts in IMU?
The FTAAAKL organises track events from time to time. Contact them to find out when is the next competition. Get together with other people who share the same passion. It’s much easier to train with some buddies rather than alone.
That is the easy bit. The training is the toughest of all. You will have days when you ask yourself why you work so hard, and on those days you must remind yourself how much you want to win. And if you keep at it, you will get there. As Muhammad Ali once said:
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.””