FORMER international S. Muthiah has finally realised his dream of setting up a training camp in Cameron Highlands to train long distance and middle distance runners for the country.
Muthiah, a three-time 1,500m SEA Games gold medallist, said a total of 13 athletes had been training under coaches P. Ramachandran and K. Shanti in Cameron Highlands since April.
“Ramachandran and Shanti have been taking good care of the athletes. We have seen a lot of positive changes in the athletes' approach towards training.
“Cameron Highlands is an ideal location for high-altitude training. I come from there. I have benefited from training in Cameron Highlands during my younger days.
“I expect these young athletes to take part in international meets in two years time,'' said Muthiah, who visits the centre during weekends.
The Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) have given their blessings to Muthiah's centre and training programme. Muthiah's employers, Universal Fitness and Leisure (UFL), and Brooks have agreed to support the programme.
“Our target is to see them representing Malaysia in the 2007 SEA Games. Some of them may take part in this year's Malaysian Open in September. But we are not expecting remarkable results from them,'' said Muthiah.
Training is held twice a day. The athletes have to go for long runs, weight training and speed workouts. The National Sports Institute (NSI) have agreed to provide medical support.
Muthiah said they were encouraged by the support given by all quarters.
“We are keen to see Malaysia regaining their supremacy in the long distance and middle distance events in the SEA Games,” he added.
“We have confidence that these athletes can deliver. They are aware of our expectations.''