'Taxing' Asia Masters not returning to S'pore soon

Singapore Athletics has no immediate plans to host another edition of the Asia Masters Athletics Championships, says its president Tang Weng Fei.

He noted that the hosting of the biennial event, which saw about 2,000 athletes aged between 35 and 92 from 25 countries in action, is usually rotated among nations.

Tang, who himself ran in the 100m, has no regrets bringing the competition back to Singapore for the first time since 1992.

"It's really inspiring when you see the 70- and 80-year-olds who are still running their hearts out," said the 61-year-old.

But he admitted that staging the five-day, 300-plus events meet at both the Kallang Practice Track and the National Stadium was a stretch in logistics and manpower.

He said: "It is one of the most taxing events that we have ever organised.

"It is tough. It is more complex than the Singapore Open. There are multiple age groups and multiple events.

"We have maxed out our system. It's a lot more logistics, more ambulances on standby, and more safety and medical personnel."

While he said the hosting cost was low as participating athletes paid for their own expenses, such as transport and accommodation, officials had to deal with more requests and even protests by the veteran athletes.

For example, even though some athletes arrived late or missed their event entirely, officials allowed exceptions to be made and allowed them to compete separately.

Tang said: "We need to adhere to IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) rules. But we're more flexible this time. They said they could not find the venue, we sort of gave way to them."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2016, with the headline ''Taxing' Asia Masters not returning to S'pore soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe