Coronavirus: Singapore track icon C. Kunalan urges country to persevere, stay home to beat outbreak

Singapore's former Olympian C. Kunalan with his wife at their home. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM SURESH NAIR/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Former national sprinter C. Kunalan urged Singaporeans to persevere and continue staying at home to curb the spread of the coronavirus during the circuit breaker period.

In a video taken by his daughter Mona, an ex-national sprinter herself, at their home near Orchard Road and posted on Facebook on Sunday (April 19), Kunalan said: "As you can see, I am working from home because of Covid-19.

"Nice environment right? Laptop, garden and girlfriend (jokingly pointing to his wife, Madam Chong Yoong Yin) next to me.

"We were born in 1942 but we have never experienced anything like Covid-19. Yes, we have heard of the plague, Spanish flu but we have not experienced anything like this. But, we will come out stronger."

The 77-year-old, who is a senior manager with Sport Singapore's ActiveSG Athletics Club, is one of the Republic's most decorated track and field athletes. He collected 15 Seap Games medals and and five Asiad medals.

He competed at the 1964 Tokyo and 1968 Mexico Olympics and held the 100m national record of 10.38sec for 33 years before it was broken by U.K. Shyam (10.37sec) in 2001.

Kunalan noted: "In 1965, when we (Chong and himself) were in sports together, it was a disastrous year because our parents objected to us being a couple and we were told to leave home.

"For a year, we were in some sort of quarantine and that affected our performance at the 1965 Seap Games, and we felt that we had let Singapore down.

"And yet a year later, our parents accepted us.

"And then at the 1966 Asian Games, I lost the gold medal by 0.01 seconds (in a photo finish to Malaysian Mani Jegathesan).

"But, within that one year, we had recovered. I feel that with this Covid-19, we can recover.

"It will take some time, but if we stay positive, strong and healthy, we will recover. Every cloud has a silver lining."

An additional 596 coronavirus cases were confirmed as of noon on Sunday, the Ministry of Health said, bringing the total to 6,588.

Eleven people have died from Covid-19 related complications here.

Singapore's ongoing enhanced measures, now on till May 4, has seen the majority of workplaces being closed, schools transitioning to full home-based learning and most people staying at home to practise safe distancing in a bid to curb the spread of pandemic.


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