Tuesday, July 20, 1993

Tang calls it a day (The Malay Mail)

Former Kuala Lumpur skipper, Tang Siew Seng, has quit after 12 years with
the team.
Siew Seng, who turns 33 on Aug 8, officially informed KLFA secretary K.
Rasalingam yesterday.
He has been battling a achilles tendon injury which he suffered in the
first leg of the Malaysia Cup semifinals against Kedah last year. He was
operated on in October.
Siew Seng graduated to the senior team in 1980 after making his mark
with the Razak Cup squad two years earlier. Since then the dedicated and
disciplined player has server KL well despite numerous injuries which
threatened to end his playing career prematurely.
However, it has taken too long to recover from this injury. Besides,
Siew Seng feels the time is right to quit as KL have several youngsters to
depend on now.
"It is with a tinge of sadness that I'm quitting. Twelve years is a long
time and I'm going to miss being part of the team," said Siew Seng
"I was with KL when they were the minnows. But now I have three Malaysia
Cup winners' medals, a League Cup medal, a Charity Shield medal and a FA
Cup winners' medal.
"I cannot ask for more. For this I have to thank all the KLFA officials,
especially Tan Sri Elyas Omar."
Siew Seng went on to represent the country in the New Delhi Asian Games.
He does not want to make any decision about his future. Siew Seng wants
to recover fully first. Depending on his condition, he may play for City
Hall, where he is an assistant sports officer.
Otherwise, he may take up coaching. Siew Seng holds an FAM Advanced
Coaching Certificate (Grade B).
KL coach S. Subramaniam said they have lost a dedicated player while
KLFA secretary K. Rasalingam added Siew Seng's services will not be

Tuesday, July 6, 1993

Sincerity's the key (The Malay Mail)

MY ONLY wish before I die is to see an Asian win an Olympic medal in
I cannot imagine after having come so close 33 years ago, when I
finished fourth in the 400m, that no one has come to achieve it all these
Back home in India, the Government has a standing offer of RM200,000 to
any athlete who can erase my 400m record timing of 45.6s, but no one has
achieved that.
Though I am proud that my record still stands in India, I am sad that no
athlete has come close to it all these years.
And I can only pin the failure to do so with the attitude of present day
What today's athletes fail to realise is achievement in sports has no
price-tags. It has to be worked for with total dedication, determination
and discipline.
Sincerity is the key word in sports, be it an athlete or an official.
We have all the facilities - from big stadiums to modern day equipment
to vitamin supplies - but nothing will be achieved if the athletes
themselves do not work for it.
And it is sad to note that athletes now do not want to work for it.
When I was running I used to train five hours a day, six days a week.
I used to train until I blacked-out and even vomitted blood. After
races, I had to be given oxygen to be revived.
There were no rewards then, but it was just a personal glory
representing the nation that kept us going.
And more important in success was consistentcy.
These days I hear athletes talking about off-seasons and that they have
peaked for a race and will see their performance take a dip before making
an impact again.
I had a stint in Europe for two months once and there I ran in 30 races.
And throughout my athletics career, I had run in 80 international races
and won 77.
At times when there was no meets, I would be running against the clock,
just to ensure that I was still clocking the times I was capable of.
And this I did every week.
At any time, I was invited to run in a race I was ready.
There were many times when after a race I had told myself that it would
be my last because of the pain and torture, but each time I was back on
the tracks because I just loved winning and the thunder of applause.
Training those days and now has not really differed much. Probably
scientific methods are often used now, but still we cannot get good
athletes from Asia.
Those days I used to work on speedwork, strengthen workouts and do
cross-country runs.
If it was suffice then and I could clock impressive times, I see no
reason why it should be outdated and cannot be applied by athletes these
Then we used to run bare-footed on cinder tracks and it required more
power to run and we could still clock good times.
Now, even with the comfortable tartan tracks which make running a lot
easier, besides giving a bounce which is condusive to clock better times,
achievements are still hard to come by.
Besides the problems of the athletes themselves, I believe officials,
too, have not been playing their role well.
A lot have placed selfinterest above their duties and, more often than
not, neglect the welfare of the athletes.
It is really not so difficult to produce good athletes. All it needs is
good planning and one person with a good acknowledge of the sports in
We cannot have too many people making decisions because this will only
confuse matters and contradict certain issues. We should also be open to
expert advice from coaches who have proven track record especially from
I personally feel that our local coaches lack in many areas like
exposure, usage of latest techniques and, above all, a professional
We should invite foreign coaches and give them long-term contracts to
achieve a definite target.
Remember, athletes cannot be made overnight.
I know that Malaysia are hosting the Commonwealth Games in 1998. Can you
name me an athlete who is being groomed to win a medal at the Games on
your home soil?
I know Malaysia might win medals in other sports like badminton. But a
medal in athletics is something else and, without it, hosting the Games
could well be classified as worthless.
Malaysia should have already identified 13 or 14-year-old athletes and
put them on a five-year programme.
Athletes these days should be making a name for themselves at the age of
18 or 19 and not in the 20s.
I would have loved to see my son, Jeev, take up athletics, so that at
least I would have given a shot at grooming him to do as well if not
better than me.
However, my wife was not keen on him taking up athletics because she
felt that one in the family was enough.
Jeev did well as a school athlete, but he was also good at cricket. But
when he went to study in the US, he decided to take up golf and is now a
As much as I wanted him to take athletics, I did not force him because
it would defeat the purpose.
No athlete should be forced to become one. He must be a willing athlete
and have the desire to work hard and seek glory.
I just hope one such athlete will come up soon in Asia and remind me of
my glorious past before I leave this world.