It was dawn at 4 am of 12th December 2011. The Subuh adzan woke me up, calling me to leave the comfortable bed for the Masjid that is 300 meters far away.
About 1,500 people (athletes, officials, and liaison officers) were currently staying at the Pilgrim Dormitory of Donohudan that day, but the Subuh congregation was no more than 20 people.
Spending a half hour sitting at the Masjid after the Subuh prayer, following the Prophetic hadith, I read the Holy Quran and morning supplication.
I had no time to take a bath before starting the second day on duty. It was not because I am lazy or have a water alergetic, but I should make sure that the two buses I booked last night were ready to drive my athletes to the Manahan stadium precisely at 5:30 am.
Walking harshly to the transpotation office, I tried to find Mr Adi, but no one seemed to have already uprised. Waiting for 15 minutes, someone came downstair and he was Mr Adi, an energetic man with smiling face at around his 40.
“OK! Be ready two buses to take around 50 athletes to the Manahan stadium,” he said, ordering drivers to set the bus steady go.
You, see? I was the first liaison officers of the ASEAN Para Games who tested the special buses. Even none of the transportation volunteer could even taste it except me. For that reason, there is a co-driver – from the Central Java’s transportation department – who knows and remembers me well.
|The inner interior of the 6th ASEAN Para Games bus|
|The front view of the 6th ASEAN Para Games bus|
|The bus is much lower than any other buses and therefore wheelchair users can directly get into the bus|
For its nature to be the first contingent arrived at the athlete village; there was no breakfast at 5:30 AM. In fact, my athletes used to have their breakfast at 5 AM during the seven-month training center.
Consequently, none of the athlete got their breakfast just before their training session. What a fortunate, breakfast finally came – even it was late – at 7:30 AM at the Manahan stadium.
Spending the journey to the Manahan stadium was an interesting part of the day. Joke, laugh, and smile came in turn frequently. Some were only staring at the window, looking at the green scenery, as if missing their family.
|Inside the 6th ASEAN Para Games bus|
|Inside the 6th ASEAN Para Games bus|
|Mr Abdul Hamid|
Arrived at the training field, a coach assistant joked, “Guys! We have two more athletes (me and my partner) here. What about amputating them so they can be really parts of us?”
Laugh melted the situation, and we started to poured and getting closer to those inspirational people.
|During the morning training session|
|During the morning training session|
Hectic at the Classification Session
December 12th, 2011 was the first day for the classification session.
That was the time when all the athletes to compete at the ASEAN Para Games 2011 would undergo thorough medical checkup, and finally group them to their class.
For your information, organizing ‘para sport’ event is much more difficult and time-consuming than any other sports event. In casual athletics competition, there are only two classes to be played for track 100 m; that are 100 m male and 100 m female.
In Para sport event, number track 100 m might consist of 100 m T11 (for those with visual disability); 100 m T12 (for those with low vision); 100 m T37 (for those with cerebral palsy); 100 m T46 (for those with one hand amputee); and any other more.
With such big classes in only one number, the classification session plays determining role to the 6th ASEAN Para Games.
|Athletes were inside the classification room, waiting their turn|
Starting at 10 AM, that day’s hectic classification session finished at 2 PM. For your information, there were 68 athletes were waiting for the medical checkup, in which each athlete might take around 20 minutes in average to finish it.
Five by five athletes came in turn to the classification room at the Manahan Stadium.
None had a cheerful face, except Insan Nur Aida – a female runner of class T37 coming from West Java.
Everyone got bored to queue in long line, thus some felt asleep at the red carpet of the warming-up room.
I alone was in-charge of giving assistance to the classifiers with Malaysian nationality. I called my athletes to come into the classification room five by five, until I got an interesting story to tell you here.
The story comes from Mr Romali. Born in 1973, he was entitled “the King of Throwing class F 57” for his great achievement in many para sport events.
Based on the procedure, all athletes who have already had international classification do not need to take that day’s classification session.
Unfortunately, Mr Romali forgot to bring the data showing that he has once classified in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the Fifth ASEAN Para Games.
Mr Romali is unbeatable in his F57 class (one leg amputee with the remaining thumb is less than 15 inches; and therefore he should do any throwing by sitting).
However, the Malaysian classifiers categorized him into F58, meaning that he should make throwing by standing.
|“The King of Throwing Class F57” in action|
He could not accept that. Fierce debate occurred between Mr Romali and the classifiers. He insisted that he should be in F57 class, but the Malaysian classifiers kept on their agreement to put him in F58 class.
The opportunity for Mr Romali to get his rights back was opened wide if he could show the data of his previous international classification to the present classifiers.
Without any doubt, Mr Romali left the Manahan stadium for the athlete village, preparing a mere bag, and went to his home in Kediri, East Java.
He could possibly ask for help from his brothers to find the data and bring them to Central Java. However, his brother could not find them, and what a bad luck, Mr Romali alone cannot remember clearly the exact location where he saved the data.
Departing at 1 PM, it took about six hours by taxi to take Mr Romali from the athlete village in Central Java to his home in East Java.
At around 9 PM, Mr Romali already arrived at home, and spent no time to take rest. He searched for every corner of his home, and finally found the data in a pile of used books and papers.
Mr Romali did only need less than an hour having conversation with his wife, Mrs Rosa Lasmini, who is currently pregnant.
With a hard feeling, Mr Romali should leave his beloved family at around 10:30 PM. He had no choice to soon leave them because he had to show the data off to the classifiers on December 13th, 2011 morning.
Mr Romali chose to take public bus. “It was empty, and less crowded if we make a journey in the middle of the night,” he said to me.
Well, at around 5 PM, Mr Romali came to the athlete village, and was welcomed happily by all of the athletes.
Taking the same bus with me and the other athletes, Mr Romali took the morning training session at the Manahan stadium and had another classification session to prove that he is eligible for the F57 class and keep his title, “The King of Throwing Class F57.”
In the Sixth ASEAN Paragames, Mr Romali got two gold medals for Shot Put F57 Male and Discuss F57 Male. Congratz, Mr Romali! Indeed Allah has awarded you appropriately for your struggle and hard work. (04 Shafar 1433 H)
|Mr Romali (right standing) and Mr Abdul Hamid (left – wheelchair) during the medal awarding ceremony|
“Indeed Allah likes those who are experts and be professional in certain skills. Whoever work hard in to feed their family, he is just the same as a Mujaheed in the path of Allah,” (Hadith Recorded by Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal).