Saturday, June 6

Watson, Sapok in improvised training mode during MCO

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Watson Nyambek

KUCHING: The lack of track and field training has posed a challenge for former Olympic athlete from Sarawak, Watson Nyambek, to train his charges.

The 44-year-old former national sprinter, who is now a state coach, 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 (years old) and currently involved in preparations for the Malaysia Games (Sukma),” he said.

Watson said that, 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.

“Through the WhatsApp application and video conferencing, I am able to give direct instructions on the training routine they need to perform during the training session,” he said.

Meanwhile, 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.

Sapok Biki

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,” Sapok said.

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

He said participating in pre-Sukma tournaments was vital to expose and get the state boxing squad accustomed to the tournament atmosphere.

“The focus of the boxing squad during the CMCO is on rehabilitation training and increasing physical strength as well as maintaining a certain level of fitness as heavy
training such as ‘sparring’ is not possible.

“All our boxers practise based on the schedules uploaded to their group, and they are then asked to send back their training videos,” he said. — Bernama