Sporting Life

At the Games, athletes come wearing armour of hope and optimism

Books are often randomly pulled from bookcases and last week I grabbed an old favourite, Rocket Men by Craig Nelson, which charts the journey of the first men on the moon. Neil Armstrong was originally a test pilot and there was a poetry to the motto of the Air Force Test Centre at Edwards Air Force Base: Ad Inexplorata. Towards The Unexplored. It sounds like a phrase most athletes should have pinned to their walls because their entire lives are focused on taking giant leaps.

This week the Commonwealth Games, an archaic collection of nations, open on the Gold Coast and 6,600 athletes will be headed in the same direction: Towards the unknown. From Australian swimmer Kyle Chalmers whose joy lies in raising blue-tongued lizards to Indian gymnast Rakesh Patra who went to court in India to ensure a fair selection process, everyone comes dissimilarly talented but somewhat similarly armed: Hope in one hand, optimism in the other.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2018, with the headline 'Athletes come wearing armour of hope and optimism'. Print Edition | Subscribe