Lack of field training poses challenge to coaches

THE lack of track and field training has posed a challenge for former Olympic athlete from Sarawak Watson Nyambek (picture), to train his charges to maintain their level of speed and endurance.

The 44-year-old former national sprinter, who is now coach of the Sarawak athletics squad, said since the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18, athletes under his guidance could no longer train as they used to.

“In order to build their speed and endurance, sprint athletes must do routine sprint training at a certain distance in a certain time. They also need a bigger space for distance training,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Having competed in two Olympic Games in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000), Watson now imparts his knowledge in sprinting to four young athletes from Sarawak.

“They are all 17 and currently involved in preparations for the Malaysia Games (Sukma),” he said.

Watson said as an alternative to sprint training, his athletes are now focusing on static training exercises to build physical and mental strength to keep them at their optimum fitness level.

Another former national sports hero, Sapok Biki, 46, is facing a similar challenge in preparing 13 young Sarawak boxers for Sukma, which has been rescheduled to next year due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the Conditional MCO.

The light flyweight gold medallist at the 1998 Commonwealth Games is now the head coach of the Sarawak boxing squad.

“If there is no major national event before Sukma, we will call all the boxing clubs in Sarawak for a friendly match to prepare the state boxers for the games,” he said.

He said boxers have to participate in at least two tournaments at the state or national level in their preparation for tournaments. — Bernama