Under the scorching sun of August 15, 2023, the Kallang Practice Track witnessed a transformation. A group of around 40 student-athletes gathered, fueled by a fire that defied the relentless heat. The occasion? A coaching clinic led by the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) featuring athletes Sarah True, Sara Perez Sala, Pieter Heemeryck, and Ellie Salthouse. The clinic synced with the inaugural PTO Asian Open, set to blaze through the weekend of August 19 and 20, at Marina Bay Sands.
Participants at the PTO running clinic, photo credit: SportSG
In the span of two electrifying hours, these young athletes engaged in dynamic warm-ups before diving into expert running techniques delivered by the professionals themselves. The track became their classroom, and the champions their mentors. The session culminated in a thrilling Q&A, followed by autographs and selfies that left an indelible mark on their aspiring souls.
Sara getting a selfie with PTO athlete Ellie Salthouse; photo credit: SportSG
The impact of this experience resonated deep within these student-athletes. Not merely an event, it was a paradigm shift. The techniques they learned transcended the ordinary, transforming their approach to the sport. As 13-year-old Joshua exclaimed, "It’s different from what I usually learn from [trainings in] ActiveSG. The techniques are different. The drills are very well-designed, but if you don’t do [them] properly, you won’t benefit as much." The flame of curiosity ignited in him, and he stood ready to plunge into future training clinics.
Joshua applying running techniques on the track; photo credit: SportSG
Diana, a 12-year-old with a knack for basketball, proclaimed, "Running has made me the best [on] the team!" The court met the track, and her newfound agility became her secret weapon.
Diana with PTO athlete Sara Perez Sala; photo credit: Diana Terekhova
The session didn't conclude on the track alone. As the Q&A unveiled a treasure trove of insights, these inquisitive minds tapped into the wisdom of champions. From race-day diets to time-zone adjustments, the young athletes absorbed life-changing lessons, rooted in the importance of balance, perseverance, and chasing dreams.
For Sara, a 13-year-old National Schools' Games (NSG) athlete, these lessons became tactical tools. "I think I can apply what they taught us to [my] races and also try to pace myself," she shared. The spark lit by the clinic burned brightly in her racing heart, leaving a trail of inspired determination in her wake.
This clinic, an epic convergence of aspiration and expertise, has not only elevated their athletic prowess but also illuminated a path to lifelong values. Teamwork, discipline, and relentless spirit now pulse through their veins. As they stood on the cusp of their sporting odyssey, they realized that this is just the beginning – an enthralling prologue to a journey fueled by passion, guided by champions, and destined for greatness.
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