I was in Danang, Vietnam last week for the Ironman 70.3. No, I was not a participant. The company I worked for in Vietnam, was one of the event sponsors and I was part of the team in support of the sponsorship.
It was a typically grueling medley of event for the participants involving 21 km of running, 1.9 km swim of the shores of Danang and 80 km of cycling. Close to 1000 participants took part. There was also Ironkids meant for children.
Of the ASEAN contingent Singapore was the highest at 104, followed by Malaysia at 86 and the Philippines at slightly lower.
Anyway there are many Ironman events around the world and all year round. So enough said on the subject. What I would like to share was my encounter with some very interesting personalities at the meet.
The first candidate was a Malaysian. At 80 years old Mr. Yee Sze Mun is the oldest participant. He started training and participating in Ironman events at the age of 58. Fourteen years later at the age of 72 he clocked his fastest time. Todate he has done 37 half Ironman and 20 full Ironman. He has completed the Hawaiian Ironman 6 times, the Hawaiian Ironman being considered one of the toughest challenge. Worldwide there are estimated only about 20 Ironman atheletes above 80 years old and he is one of them.
|Mr. Yee Sze Mun honored me with his presence|
The second participant was another Malaysian, Mr. Wong Hock Yim. At 68 years old he is rather youthful compared to Mr Yee above and in a political party, he would be in the Youth Wing. So being still youthful, Mr. Wong has completed only 13 Ironman events. But no worries, he still has many years to catch up. In his spare time at home in Ipoh, Malaysia he runs YN Therapy, a therapy center based on traditional Chinese medicine.
In both Mr. Yee and Mr. Wong, the spirit of Malaysia Boleh was well articulated.
|Mr Yee Sze Mun , the Elder, on the left and Mr Wong Hock Yim , Youth Leader, on the right|
The third interesting participant was Mr. Tony Ledinh. At 79 years he was all raring to go for the event the next day. Having a long illustrious history, he served as Deputy Minister under President Nguyen Cao Ky in the 1960's and was a very close friend of Malaysia's first Prime Minister, the late Tungku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj, being his regular golfing kaki (partner) and confidante.
|Mr Tony Ledinh and wife|
Whilts I admire the hundreds of athletes who steeled themselves for the pain and exhaustion of the event under the burning sun, I reserve my greatest admiration to these gentlemen above. They have decided that life should be lived and savored to the fullest and the last drop. The way life should be lived.
I guess there are various motives as to why men and women do this thing. For many I guess it is to compete against themselves. For some to compete against the others. For a few maybe, just to be part of the scene and to be able to say, "I was there and did that".
But for these honorable gentlemen, I think their hidden motive was to put us couch potatoes to shame. Well, for me they have succeeded. Starting training soon.