CareRunner Abdul Thaslim Unveiled As West Zone Running Ambassador For SCMS 2014
17 Jul 2014
“Describe yourself in three words.”
It’s almost a death sentence for a self-conscious teenager.
However 16 year-old Thaslim, who goes sheepish at the thought of public speaking, has an answer that belies a clear sense of his priorities in life: “Sporty, family man.”
Thaslim is one of the top sprinters in the SportCares CareRunners programme for youth from the community, and he joins this year’s Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore as one of its five running ambassadors. Living in Commonwealth Crescent, Thaslim will represent SCMS in the West Zone. The Marathon running ambassadors have been brought on board to represent and rally their respective running community. As part of this year’s Marathon, the ambassadors will lead monthly running clinics with participating runners in their communities. “It’s a surprise for me, this opportunity in running. I am really looking forward to doing my best and giving back,” enthused Thaslim on what it means for him to be an ambassador.
Marathon running is a relatively new experience for this shy teenager. Being given the chance to fill the role of a running ambassador is a huge step forward for this highly promising athlete. It’s something he would have never thought possible when he started on this SportCares journey some eight months ago.
A year ago, Thaslim made his debut in the ekiden relay at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2013, covering 7.5 km in 35 minutes. He hit a wall at the mid-way mark but his tenacious spirit kicked in and kept him going until he handed over the baton to the final runner. After only eight months of training with the CareRunners, he is cautiously upping his SCMS distance to the 10km for this year’s race.
His running Coach, Elangovan, has told him that he is 60% of the way to becoming a national level runner. Thaslim is weighing over what that could mean to him and, more specifically, the sacrifices that it will mean. He is a student at Queensway Secondary School and is an active volunteer for SportCares. Nor is his love of sport limited to running. He has an equal passion for football.
Thaslim’s sporting talent was on display this past June in the Delta League tournament, organized by the National Crime Prevention Council and the Singapore Police Force. As a starting defender on the Saturday Night Lights (SNL) Sports School team that made it to the semi-final stage, Thaslim was vital to the team’s defensive prowess, a defense that allowed just one goal in their last four games. His team placed third among 48 teams. “It might be third place for others,” Thaslim said. “But for me and the team, we’re champions in our hearts.”
Yet despite all the success he has achieved on the field and on the track, he has been known to miss practices. What could make a boy – clearly reaping the benefits of his physical and mental discipline – miss the very practices that would allow him to move closer towards his goals?
“My sister,” Thaslim says softly, his eyes drifting to the floor. His younger sister is deaf and has diabetes. “Sometimes I have no choice but to stay at home and take care of my sister. She’s only eight years old and at that age she really doesn’t understand why she has to take two injections a day. It was the saddest moment of my life when I found out. I really just wanted to cry.” In turn, Thaslim had one of his proudest moments when his sister won her 100m event at the National Para Athletics Championships 2014 in May.
Therein lies the maturity and understanding that Thaslim possesses: the awareness of the need and the understanding how to prioritize.
"Family is forever, and we should take care of our families,” Thaslim says. But as a young man coming to terms with his potential as a competitive athlete, “I realize now that it’s important to have a regular commitment. SportCares is not like regular training. If you join and continue to stay active, confirm you will improve.”