Masters Athletes – Selection to represent Singapore

 In all sports, representing Singapore is a big thing, an honour that every athlete would cherish to do Singapore proud. In most instances the athletes would be chosen by a team of experts from national bodies like the Singapore Athletics Association and the various sports councils. The involvement of such national institutions reflects the importance of the sports and representing Singapore in the international arena. There are also stringent criteria and objective rules and regulations to abide by before an athlete is selected to represent Singapore.

In the case of Masters athletes, this task is not the responsibility of any national body at the moment but assumed by the Singapore Masters Athletes, a sports club. Some may think that this is a national body, in a sense it is as it has Singapore as part of its name. But this is unlike other national bodies and institutions that were sanctioned and supported by the govt financially and with govt appointees. In other words, Singapore Masters Athletes is a private club in every sense, I stand corrected. I can’t say that mysingaporenews is a national media because it has Singapore as a part of its name.

There are historical reasons for SMA to assume the role of selecting athletes to represent Singapore. For many years, masters athletes were a loose grouping of senior athletes competing casually and donning the Singapore colours in international events with only scant recognition and acknowledgement that they represented Singapore for merely being Singaporeans and carrying the Singapore flag on their attire. Did the governing sports authority officially sanctioned their representation?

There are obvious reasons why athletes representing Singapore are normally selected by national bodies with experts sitting in the selection committees. There are also good reasons why private sports clubs would not be delegated the responsibility to select representatives to represent their respective clubs especially when they also have club members vying to represent Singapore in competition with other club members.

The time has come for the Singapore Athletics Association, a governing body, to step in to select athletes to represent Singapore in international masters athletic events if masters athletes representing Singapore is to be taken seriously. The days when anything goes need to be formalized and officially sanctioned by a national sports organization to avoid conflicts of interest, to ensure fair play and to prevent inter club rivalry. Maybe the sports governing body does not think much about masters athletes representing Singapore. If that is the case, then every club should have a free hand to send their athletes to compete in international masters events and not be left to a single club to dictate the terms and rules for participation and representation. It is unhealthy for any private club to have the de facto power to dictate to other clubs.

The choice is between representing Singapore seriously or let it be a laissez faire activity, and participating and representing Singapore in such events be less exacting and more for sportsmanship and enjoying the sports. If representing Singapore in international sporting events is a serious matter, even in masters athletics, then it is highly desirable and necessary that a national body be in charge, be responsible in the selection of masters athletes to represent Singapore, done officially, objectively and fairly.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

The flaws of allowing one club to set the rules for other clubs are glaring and divisive.

Anonymous said...

Even if a National body were to do the selections, there will still have politics at play. Also, human beans are basically bias. They cannot be fair and objective at the same time. Their cognitive bias and political survival instinct will direct their decisions towards either favouritism or ill-will. Even the Popes, in the long history of the Vatican, could not and have not display neutrality, objectivity and fairness. Many decisions and selections have been based on the survival of the Vatican and Catholicism.

Even God has not been neutral, objective and fair throughout the existence of human beans.

Run to live, live to run said...

Been participating in Masters competitions since 2000. Raced in 7 Asia Masters Championships, never once was there a qualifying requirement, also learnt from other countries that all masters athletes are welcomed to take part, no need for qualifications. This coming Asia Masters in Sarawak, Kuching, to be held in Dec 2019, Singapore set qualifying marks and also set up centralised training, much appreciated for the great effort to uplift the competition level. We are master athletes age above 35, happy doing Athletics because we enjoy the adrenaline rush at this golden age and training with our own khakis. Competing to meet qualifying marks and going for centralised training somehow 'changed' the passion for athletics. We are happy to train and race anytime, please embrace masters by supporting us, no need for strict marks and compulsory trainings. Take Action💪 to Ignite🔥 your Passion💓.

Anonymous said...

Agree, cannot avoid unfairness and politiking. But it is another thing to encourage or assist or to allow a flawed system to continue unchallenged.

When riding a scooter on a walkway is dangerous, something must be done to change it, not to let it be.

Anonymous said...

What I can see is making changes without thinking. Masters athletes range from 35 to above 80. Put them under centralised training doing the same thing is insane if not stupidity.

The regimentation of masters athletes like young athletes reflects very badly on the one who thought this is the right way to go. Straight jacket training from the books.

Run to live, live to run said...

Asia Masters was held in Singapore in 2016, largely organised by Singapore Athletic Association. Singapore fielded the largest contingent ever, all the former national, school and 'kampong' athletes came and kept our SG flag flying high. Why? Becos masters love what they do and when they want do, no qualifying marks, no centralised training. ALL WERE WELCOME!

Perhaps only the relays, we may need a trial to select the fastest and fittest from each age group to represent Singapore. Support masters athletes passion.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

What I know, as a masters athlete myself, is that everyone is different and must be handled with extreme care.

To raise standard, what should be done is to set the qualifying marks and let the masters athletes manage their own training. The coaches are only needed on request, not to be imposed on the masters athletes, when needed by the masters athletes. Coaches to be available to assist, to guide, to provide help when necessary.

Many masters athletes know what to do, how to train and when to train. Training them together like a horde of young studs is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Lazy people, incompetants, irresponsible and idiotic nincompoop always go for one-size-fit-all shoes (policies, methodologies, systems). Such people stand out like sore thumbs. They should never be allowed to head any organization that deals with large groups of people of varied age, race and religion. Whoever put them in-charge must be equally lazy, incompetent and irresponsible.

Perhaps, too much studying of books have caused their brains to be devoid of common sense and empathy.

Anonymous said...

The only reason for qualifying time is cost. If the govt or anyone is paying for the athletes, then the money must be wellspent eg for medal potentials.

If the masters athletes are paying for themselves, why is there a need for qualifying time when the most important thing is about participation, not so much about winning.

WMA does not impose any qualifying time/mark, why is there a need for it? Likewise no need for compulsion to attend training sessions.


Anonymous said...

Given the freedom to participate and with own expenses,
why would participants wants qualification and to be regulated ?
Bear in mind, this unofficial competition or rather sport, is for leisure, passion and maybe health.
Even if sponsor is sought forto make the event more attractive, there is no need to want official recognition, unless the motive to compete is glory seeking.

Anonymous said...

SMA has suggested that athletes selected to represent Singapore may be given some subsidies on air fare and accommodation. I would agree that such monetary incentive should not be given freely and a qualifying criteria is reasonable. However this incentive thing is only a proposal, nothing has been firm, it may end up with no monetary incentive.

The problem comes when athletes that did not qualify cannot represent Singapore and participate in the competition, something knew and not in accordance with the WMA rules and regulations that allow all to participate without the need for qualification. This new criteria is introduced by SMA, not sure if SAA agrees and approves with this new condition.

Also, athletes that qualified may not be allowed to participate if they did not satisfy the attendance requirement set by SMA. This is against the spirit of participation of WMA. And athletes from other clubs may not represent Singapore without the consent of SMA but may be allowed to participate independently. Still not clear on this position.

These new conditions are unnecessary and contrary to the spirit and purpose of the WMA.

WMA is all about participation, the more the merrier.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

@ RB

>> What do you think? <<

I'm big on individualism. Meaning, I try to avoid or at least minimise the effects of politics in my day to day. Politics happens because we are social animals and thus form groups and tribes which jockey for dominance and superiority. This is a quirk of our species and it's wasted time and resources. The less, the better...but alas, the more people there are, the greater and messier the politics.

IMO any endeavour begins and ends wth a clarity of values and purpose. Are you running to be the best individuals you can be, and be that pinnacle of inspiration to your peers, or is the 'glory' and 'ego stroking' of national/ cuntry representation the "grand idea", having to qualify yourself by some other standard you didn't choose.

I think you know my answer. Hope you find yours.

Fuck the politics. Be you, for your sake. If you're really good, people will notice.

Anonymous said...

If SMA imposed strict rules and regulations, treating us like young children,etc..Also, since they are affiliate to AMA and WMA, either we quit or boycott those competitions that are sanction by them.
There is no 2 ways about it.
There are many overseas competition that we can participant without getting SMA's approval. Just enjoy our training and competitions.