Among the 500 athletes aged 35 and older in the two-day Singapore Masters Track and Field Championship at Toa Payoh Stadium are a quartet of ladies who stand out not just for their gutsy fashion sense and friendly personalities, but also for their prowess on the track.
Mal Kajor, 60, from India, clearing a hurdle in the men's 110m hurdles final. Photo: Sport Singapore
Aged between 50 and 59 years, the team from Singapore Masters Athletics team A beat out competition from India and Thailand to win the 4x100 metre relay in their age group with a comfortable time of 59.77 seconds.
The team consists of Linda Oh, Margaret Oh, Christina Tay and Belinda Foo. We caught up with these vivacious belles of the track after their win, where they spoke about their experiences in the masters between giggles and good-natured ribbing.
Members of Singapore Masters Athletics Team A (L to R) Linda Oh, Christina Tay, Margaret Oh and Belinda Foo. Photo: Sport Singapore
Linda Oh is by far the most experienced member of the group having competed at every Asian Masters event since 1992 with the exception of one year where she was out injured. The gym trainer at Tan Tock Seng Hospital also stands out as the person with the most "daring" fashion sense with her numerous tattoos and mid-riff baring sports-wear.
Margaret Oh is quietly unassuming and the unofficial coach of the team. A former national sprinter, Oh is also the coach of Singaporean track sensation Shanti Pereira.
She organises the training sessions for the ladies and is happy to see that the "turn out for this year's (open) is much more" and states her main reason for competing is to "stay healthy and meet up with old friends".
"We share good times and bad times. The bad times are like unsuccessful runs and injuries which are common among masters athletes." said Christina Tay, a university lecturer who at age 50 is tied with Belinda Foo as the youngest member of the quartet.
She's been team mates with the two Ohs for over 15 years. "We actually have mutual understanding. We don't even have to practice, we know what to do," she jokes to approving nods by the rest of her team mates.
Belinda Foo is the new recruit of the team and ran the anchor leg of the 4x100m relay.
"This is the first time we've run together although we have run in different combinations in the past." said the music lecturer at Lasalle College of the Arts.
"We're hoping that in the next Asian Masters Athletics which is held in Singapore, we want (to keep) this team as it has a very good chance to strike gold in 50-59 age group." added Tay.
With their steely determination and grace off the track, we won't disagree.
A competitor takes part in the discus final. Photo: Sport Singapore