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Saturday, February 16, 2013

The State Coach - Chapter 1: 1981-1984.

THE STATE COACH
PERLIS athletics team in 1982
 
When I was posted to Perlis in June 1980, I didn't realise that I would become a state athletics coach.
Remember the "deal" I had with the Education officer of the Ministry of Education in 1980? I was actually posted to Sabah, but I begged the officer in charge not to be posted (for me) to Sabah then... The officer (Mr. Baharom) then became the Perlis Education Director in 1981.
Mr. Baharom called me to his office and asked me to coach athletics for the state team. I had no choice but had to.. Anyway, I was indebted to him. So.., I took the job.

I met the Team Manager then, Mr. Saad (1981). He was a nice man. I could see that there were only two coaches,  and they were not that skillful in coaching athletics. They were no specific programmes - merely asking the athletes to run around and doing simple stretching exercises. Maybe, they were not exposed to the modern techniques or maybe their knowledge in coaching were limited. As a new guy, I didn't want to show my talent. I might offend them... So, I just watched and mixed around with the athletes.

That year (1981) - the MSSM was held in Kota Bahru, Kelantan. I was not chosen to go. There were around 15 athletes chosen to represent Perlis and there were 4 officials going (the team manager, two coaches and a chaperon). What I heard was that, Perlis came back empty handed. It was normal in those days... No medals to show.

In 1982, my school then (SMK Syed Hassan) was the state champion in athletics. Many of my school athletes were chosen to represent the state in the MSSM (held in Kuantan, Pahang). So - that year, I was chosen to bring the state team to Kuantan, my first "real" assignment as a state coach.
For the first 3 days, Perlis did not win any medals. Two athletes came close to win a medal - long jumper Kamaruzaman and javelin thrower Norisah. Both were my personal athletes that I coached at home in Perlis. Both won the 4th places. Kamaruzaman did 6.48m and still got 4th place. Unlucky for him not to win a medal, because the bronze medallist did a 6.50m jump.
Then came the drama on the 4th and last day....

The 4x400m relay team had finished second in the heats. The team - Kamarudzaman, Zakri, Nasha and Maniam - was personally coached by me at home. In fact, three of them were my school students (except Maniam). I had already placed the runners according to their capabilities - to be a winning team - when suddenly, the chief coach (by name only), Mr. I, changed the positions of the runners without consulting me!!
The team came 5th in the finals. Maniam was supposed to be the  first runner, but he changed position to be the last runner. I scolded the team for not listening to my instructions... I asked Maniam why he did so..
Guess what? The chief coach, Mr. I, asked him to do so...
I got mad and had a quarrel with Mr. I. He was not supposed to do so because he had not coached the team in the first place. I was the one who coached them. Very silly of him to do so... And, he just smiled irritatingly.. Huh - I could still remember his cunning face (till today...).
So.... Perlis came home empty handed again in 1982.

I never gave up... In 1983, I came back and coached more capable athletes. In fact, my school then (SMK Syed Hassan), came out runner-ups in 1983 and state champions in 1984. More than half of the Perlis contingent to the MSSM 1983 and MSSM 1984 were my school athletes. Runners, jumpers, throwers - mostly were my personal athletes from SMK Syed Hassan... - I coached them for the MSSM meets, but I was not chosen as an official (coach) to go to the MSSM - just because of the "drama" in Kuantan in 1982. The chief coach was still Mr. I - and the outcome was still the same in 1983 and 1984 - no medals, as usual.
The funny thing is that the state still trusted him to become the chief coach. And year after year - no medals at MSSM meets.
I quit as state athletics coach in 1985.

Things changed in 1996. That was when Mr. Jasni Ladin came back to Perlis to change the mindset of the coaches in Perlis...
I will tell it all in my coming posts under the label "COACHING".
See yer later on....
Some photos to share:
Perlis officials - outside Darul Makmur stadium in Kuantan
 with my athetes
opening ceremony - MSSM 1982
with my ex-UPM rubgy team mates in Kuantan (happened to met them)
 showing my sprinters the correct way to start
 at the stands during the MSSM meet
 no medals yet after 3 days
 MSSM official dinner - with the Perlis Director (Mr. Baharom Othman)
 staying at school hostel dorms those days..
 Teluk Chempedak beach after the MSSM meet
 with my athletes at Teluk Chempedak
 met some "Mat Salleh" in Kuantan

Have a nice day...
 

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