SO how much of an ‘Uncle Choo’ (famed for his tough training approach in football) was Natahar Bava, when it came to whipping his ‘rugby boys’ into shape 30 years ago?
Song Koon Poh, 54, said: ‘The word for him is grind. He used to grind us all the way.
‘He was ‘The Grinder’.’
When Bava trained to be a 1966 Asian Games bronze medallist in the 4x400m, one of his personal routines was to run from the bottom of Mount Faber to the top, eight times, continuously.
As Song sighed at the painful memories flooding back, Bava, 63, smiled and spoke on.
‘I told the boys that if I could do it eight times, they could do it 10 times!’
But Song said they all understood Bava’s reasons.
‘I think you can say rugby then was a different game to what it is today, but the same age-old qualities for success will never change.
‘Fighting spirit, do and die, dedication, determination, mental strength and fitness, the best have it.
‘He trained our Singapore team that way, so we could outlast opponents whether local or foreign, in the last 15 minutes of the game, when everyone usually tires out.’ – ERNEST LUIS