Running helped improve his game

SINGAPORE - Mr Yong Weng Soon, 48, was tired of being relegated to the sidelines at casual basketball games because he was outpaced by opponents half his age.

The sales manager, who had been playing the sport for over 30 years, was not ready to give up his passion just yet. So three years ago, in a bid to improve his stamina and overall game, he picked up running.

Said Mr Yong, who will be participating in the 15km category on Sunday's The Straits Times Run in the Park at Punggol Waterway: "I was really slowing down because of age.

"It was tough because without stamina, you can't last."

So, he took to pounding the pavements of West Coast, where he lives in a condominium with his wife and two daughters.

He started running 2km once a week and gradually increased the distance. Today, he runs thrice a week, covering about 5km a session.

His basketball game has also improved.

Mr Yong and his team of former university mates now enjoy longer outings on the National University of Singapore courts, which they frequent.

Said Mr Yong, who plays as a point guard: "Our opponents used to call us, 'Uncle, Uncle'. Now, we are quite respected on the court. They realise they have to guard us to make sure we don't outscore them. We give them a run for their money."

Now, running also has a special place in Mr Yong's heart. He participates in about four running events in a year.

He said, with a laugh: "Now, my interest between basketball and running is about 50-50."

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