Indonesia in retrospect – Part 1: Life at Universitas Indonesia (b)

Even though the main objective of the student exchange program was more academically-focus, I reckoned cultural exchange should be a part of it. For this, I attended the activities/programs organized in UI diligently.

Playing hard in UI!

Playing hard in UI!

olimpiade opening-backdrop

One fine day, I came across recruitment notice to represent Faculty of Engineering for track events during Olimpiade, the sports carnival of UI. I sent text messages to the captain, Valent, stating my personal best times for 100m, 200m and 400m running and asked if I’m eligible to run for the faculty. Friends from Malaysia were NOT being supportive, because they said Indonesian are always ace runners for track events in SEA games. I was delighted when Valent finally replied: you are more than qualified!

There was a few proud moments that I was glad that with coach’s guidance, I toiled away to be a better runner:-

On days leading to the event, I jogged to the stadium of UI and did my training there. A guy came approached me one day, asked, “Are you an athlete?” “Oh, I do run for my university in Malaysia! But how can you tell?” “The way you warm up is very professional.” He then introduced himself as the athletic coach for a secondary school nearby and offered some running tips to me.

On the morning of the event, I forced Cos, Zaino and Shahrul to come to stadium and support me and they reluctantly complied (Haha!). Once I reached the stadium, I sat quietly at one corner, waiting for instruction from Valent. Without noticing my presence, the guard of the stadium, who observed my training all the while, asked his peers in Indonesian, “Where is the girl from Malaysia? I watch her run every day. I think she won’t get tired at all!”

While I went for warming up at the field, Cos recorded a video and the narration went like this:-

Selamat pagi semua. Di sana, Sam tengah warming up. Rasa-rasanya lah, maybe tak dapat lari… sebab dah letih warming up. Setengah jam ar, dia warming up…

Fellow supporters!

Fellow supporters!

Around 9.30am, it was the heat run for 200m. I ran all out and the runner-up was at least 15m behind. Valent came to me at finish line, worried, “Sam, please conserve your energy, it’s just heat. You still have to run for many rounds today!” I was wont to running all out during Malaysian Universities Games, else with the fierce competition I couldn’t qualify to finals.

running all out for 100m heat

running all out for 100m heat

Then it came the 100m heat. I kept reminding myself to conserve energy and just have to make sure I finish first or second to qualify to final. But, I clocked 13.8s! That was my best run ever and I almost broke the record of UI.

I kept running and running on the day. After 100m heat, it was followed by 100m semi-final, 100m final and 200m final and 400m relay.

For the last run, I was already dog-tired: at 1.37pm, I was running in the blistering heat and my energy level already reached rock bottom because breakfast taken before 7am couldn’t fuel my run further!

The last run of the day: 4 x 400m. I was running real slow...

The last run of the day: 4 x 400m. I was the first baton and running real slow…

olimpiade-4 x 400m

My supporters (Cos & Shahrul) got worried: Is this 800m run? How come Sam’s running so slow? This is her jogging speed only.

Shahrul's and Cos's view was blocked by the trees and did not know what happened to my run from  250m onwards

Shahrul’s and Cos’s view was blocked by the trees and did not know what happened to my run from 250 m onwards. Cos had great faith in me though, “Sam will sure overtake…. She just doesn’t want to sprint too early…”

I did not fail his expectation!

I did not fail his expectation!

After passing the baton to my team mate, I felt really sick: dehydrated, exhausted and famished!

After passing the baton to my team mate, I felt really sick: dehydrated, exhausted and famished!

I went back with 2 gold (100m and 200m) and 1 silver (4 x 400m) medals that day. Faculty of Engineering bagged 3 gold medals during Olimpiade (from all sport events), 2 were from me!

A proud day! 🙂 But I 乐极生悲, I was sick for a week after the event! Fever and food poisoning!

Athletes representing Faculty of Engineering!

Athletes representing Faculty of Engineering!

Part 1: campus life – (a) | Part 2: host family | Part 3: adventure – (a), (b)


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