Monday, August 22, 2016

Advise from first hockey Olympian...

Pic: Receiving the Jalur Gemilang from the King as Chef de Mission for Sydney 2000 Olympics.

TAN SRI P.  Alagendra was among the first Malaysian Hockey Olympians to compete in the 1956 Melbourne Games and he still remembers it like it was yesterday.
  "How old do you think I am,? the former Selangor Chief Police Officer questioned before this scribe could even shoot a question.
  About 85?
  "No 87, and I was 27 and at the prime of my life when Malaya sent their first hockey team for the Olympics," said the still sharp Alagendra.
  He went on to hold numerous positions in the then Malaysian Hockey Confederation and Asian Hockey Federation, but as a player he cherished his Olympic moments.
  Alagendra represented the country at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, coached the team to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and was the assistant manager at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and 1972 Montreal Games. 
  He capped his Olympic career as Malaysia’s Chef-de-Mission to the 2000 Sydney Games.
  "Everything was different back then. The ball, hockey stick, playing field and rules were as different as the moon and earth," lamented Alagendra.
  Looking forward, Alagendra feels to be and Olympian is the ultimate height an athlete can climb.
  "There is nothing higher than the world cup and Olympics for athletes to cherish, and personally, I believe Olympics is the pinnacle of sports.
  "For, it was here that I learned many things which changed my life for the better as a human and administrator of the sport for decades to come.
  "Firstly, after mingling with the best athletes from around the globe it hit me that self discipline is what one needs to break new barriers.
  "Coaches and officials can train and motivate during official training, but what an athlete does when he is on his own is what matters most in the end.
  "One must be disciplined enough to carry on the routines taught even during off season time, and even when one has many other important things to do.
  "Self training will see the athlete become a house-hold name."
  And his advise to hockey who last saw action in Sydney 2000?
  "It has been 16 years since hockey last made the Olympics, and everybody must work together to make sure in that we qualify for Tokyo 2020. Again, coaches can only impart so much, the hockey players who want to compete in Tokyo four years from now must have the self drive, discipline and motivation to realise their dreams."