Athletics: Singapore fields largest contingent for Asia Masters Athletics Championships

(From left) Margaret Oh, Christina Tan, Ajit Singh, Glory Barnabas and Linda Oh, who will be competing in the Asia Masters Athletic Championships 2016.
(From left) Margaret Oh, Christina Tan, Ajit Singh, Glory Barnabas and Linda Oh, who will be competing in the Asia Masters Athletic Championships 2016. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - There will be a parade of former national track and field stars as Singapore field its largest contingent at the May 4-8 Asia Masters Athletics Championships.

A total of 175 veteran athletes aged 35 and above will be competing at the biennial meet at the National Stadium and Kallang Practice Track.

Among them are former national sprinters Margaret Oh, 55, and Glory Barnabas, 74. Former hockey player Ajit Singh, 89, who played for Singapore at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, has also joined the competition.

Oh is part of the 4x100m relay team (55-59 years category), Barnabas will compete in the women's long and high jump (70-74), while Ajit will take part in the 5,000m race-walk (85-89).

The competition will feature about 2,000 athletes aged 35 years and above, from 25 countries including Turkey, the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Russia.

This is the fourth time that Singapore will be hosting the competition, after the 1981, 1985 and 1992 editions.

Barnabas, the 1973 Southeast Asia Peninsular Games 200m champion, is excited about competing at home again. Even though she is no longer sprinting, she has excelled in long jump and high jump at Masters level. At the competition's previous edition in Kitakami, Japan, she won a silver in women's high jump (70-74 years category) and a bronze in long jump.

Barnabas said: "It gives opportunities to athletes like us to carry on the skills they have learnt and have excelled in."

Competition is secondary for some other athletes, as they are looking forward to a reunion of former local athletes. Oh said: "Competing or not, it's not that important. I like to run and enjoy it with my old friends."