Interview by Colin Tung/Red Sports. Photos by Lim Yong Teck/Red Sports
Red Sports (RS): Tell us about your background as an athlete. When, where, and how did you get your start in athletics?
Melvin Wong (MW): I started running in 2004 but spent the next eight years in triathlon as a competitive age-grouper. My highest accolade for the multisport event was when I represented Singapore at the Asian Duathlon Championships in 2012, just five days before my wedding. Thereafter, I decided to just focus on running to keep feeding my competitive side as I looked forward to starting a family with my wife.
I did not have the luxury of getting into athletics at an early age as I spent my teenage years playing in the concert band. But I do have great role models – many of whom are younger than me and currently at the peak of their running career now whom I look up to, and they motivate me to keep up the joy and passion in running.
RS: What do you enjoy about your event? What has kept you in it over the years?
MW: I like the 5,000m because it is an event where endurance and speed can be combined to make it an exciting race for both spectators and athletes alike. It is long enough to settle into a rhythmic pace and, yet, it has that element of uncertainty as subtle accelerations and deliberate decelerations dictate the tactical aspects of the race.
I have always believed that a good 5,000m performance is the bedrock to greater performance in long distance running. This has certainly been my driver over the years and, I hope, for future years to come. In addition, this event is of appropriate duration to showcase the tactical acumen and aerobic fitness of an athlete looking to race with his peers.
RS: What are your aims this SEA Games?
MW: My personal aim is to lower my 5km and 10km personal best. My social aim is to continue being a role model and exert positive influence on the next generation of distance runners to extend their longevity in the sport through a meticulous and purposeful balance of family, work and sporting excellence. It is through a sustainable period of commitment, dedication and resilience that the fruits of our labour will be reaped. And this is why we should always embrace every single step and milestone in our lives. These are the steps that we will cherish and bring us closer to our goals.
RS: How do you feel about competing at the first SEA Games on home ground in 22 years?
MW: A sense of immense pride as I don the Singapore colours in front of my family and friends.
RS: What sort of scene do you imagine and hope to see at the National Stadium on competition day?
MW: A packed stadium. For I know those who are present will be cheering their hearts out for our Singapore athletes.
Events: 5,000m and 10,000m
Personal best: 15 minutes 53 seconds (5,000m, 2015 Singapore Open); and 33:40.28 (10,000m, 2015 Malaysia Open)
Also representing Singapore in the men’s 5,000m: Jeevanesh Soundararajah. Also representing Singapore in the men’s 10,000m: Soh Rui Yong
The men’s 5,000m final is scheduled for Tuesday, June 9, 2015. The men’s 10,000m final is scheduled for Wednesday, June 10, 2015. See here for full schedule
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