Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Go Allamanda Go

Last weekend I took part in the inter-college track meet. It was held at the sports complex in Samarahan because UNIMAS has no track. (In addition to the USA) I was representing my dorm, Allamanda College, though I had no orange clothes to affiliate myself as such like the other Allamanda athletes.

Brian is a Malay friend of mine who I'd run with a couple times prior to this competition. Last Wednesday he brought me along to the track to see what times I should shoot for in my events. Just after I finished timing myself in the 1500m it began raining heavily. Despite our saturated shoes we had a great time continuing with our training in the tropical downpour. Brian had struck a deal with the security guard allowing us to stay after hours, so, being the only ones in the whole stadium, we even had the guts to run shirtless, which is something I've been very tempted to do during my morning runs but have refrained from in respect of cultural standards.

On Friday Brian brought me along to the public pool next to the track so we could relax our muscles before the meet. Two days after swimming in that pool my hair still felt as if I'd mistakenly shampooed with Elmer's glue. My rinse-wash-repeats were no match for the chlorine and whatever else was in that water.

As well as being a sprinter, Brian is a great distance runner, swimmer, and cyclist. His two goals athletics-wise are to complete the Iron Man held on Malaysia's Langkawi Island and to take part in a footrace to the peak of Sabah's Mt. Kinabalu, a mountain I hope to climb in May. Currently in the news is Le Tour de Langkawi which enters its fifth of seven stages tomorrow. This is Asia's most prestigious cycling race and covers six Peninsular Malaysian states. (Ironically, the race's namesake is not included in the route.)

An opening ceremony was held before the track meet began Saturday morning. The deputy vice-chancellor made a speech praising the students for choosing to participate in this event rather than go to the shopping mall. Then we sung the national anthem and the UNIMAS theme song, both of which I really like and neither of which I quite have down yet. A lengthy prayer concluded the ceremony.

Certain events typically found in a track meet like hurdles races and high jump were excluded because they didn't have the equipment. Brian was expecting to run the steeplechase, but it was cancelled a day before the meet for this reason. One thing I found odd was the number of runners, especially girls, who would collapse during or at the end of the race and be carried off on a stretcher to be attended to by medics. To my knowledge no one was seriously injured. The girl below in orange brought home the gold medal for Allamanda in the 100m dash.

Brian is second from the left. He won silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m.

Saturday I won first place in the 1500m with a time of 4:54. On Sunday in the 5000m I took second to a real nice Indian-Malaysian guy named Benjamin Nathan Sebastian who I'd trained with before. In each of my races there was at least one guy running barefoot.

In the overall medal count Allamanda came in second only to Kenanga, the dorm for UNIMAS military trainees. The pictures that I'm in are thanks to my awesome roommate Seon who kindly came out to support me.


Today I stopped by the ping-pong club's first meeting of the year and played three very intense matches, barely coming out on top in all three. If I'm lucky, I'll bring in another medal for Allamanda in this Saturday's inter-college ping-pong tourney.