Long-distance walking may have been an unpopular sport to the masses today, but to Mr Nadarajan, it became his chosen field of endeavour. The proud former marine police corporal now recounts his experiences representing Singapore in the 7th SEAP Games in 1973.

1Mr Nada receiving his award from then president Mr Benjamin Sheares. Photo credit: Nadarajan 

Ever since my primary school days, I have an undying enthusiasm in middle and long distance walking. I never knew I could realize my dreams in athletics until I joined the Singapore Police Force in 1971.

I started off participating in local competitions and trials in Big Walk, representing the Police Force as a marine police corporal. My effort, dedication and sacrifices made in training finally paid off when I was able to represent Singapore in the 7th SEAP Games in 1973 held in Singapore.

My ambition was to win and therefore, I trained even harder, breaking several of my own records, and stretching myself to new limits.

Only two minutes behind Khoo Chong Beng, I bagged my first silver medal in the 7th SEAP Games. This achievement was the beginning of my international long distance walking career.Specialising in the 10 and 20-kilometre walk events, I continued to represent Singapore in seeking glory at the 8th SEAP Games and the 2nd Asian Track and Field Championships held in Seoul. In 1977, the SEAP Games was officially renamed as the SEA Games, and I was honoured to be selected as a representative for Singapore from the 9th to 12th SEA Games. During this period of time, I intensified my training, with the help from my coaches.

Of course, for an athlete, there were times I felt that my age was catching up with me.

However, my strong belief in “no pain, no gain” spurred me to soar towards my dream. The going gets tough, but the tough gets going. Over these fruitful years, my passion and perseverance bagged me several medals and trophies, from Jakarta, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and even on home soil. In recognition of my performance at the 11th SEA Games, I was given an opportunity to train in Cologne, West Germany for three months in 1982. In the process, I gained recognition and fame, and also a great sense of satisfaction in establishing new records and frontiers for myself.

2Collection of Mr Nada’s trophies and medals in athletics. Photo credit: Nadarajan 

In addition, I also gained invaluable experience taking part in the 1st IAAF World Championships in Athletics in 1983, held in Helsinki. Now, I am enjoying my work as the Operations Manager of Ahmad Ibrahim Primary School, making my life meaningful by serving as many people as I can, and seeing young children working hard to achieve their dreams. Nevertheless, my interest in long distance walking will remain as long as I live.

Mr  Nadarajan s/o Rengasamy’s  story first appeared here on the Singapore Memory Project portal.
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