Thursday, November 19, 2009

Iwata Takatoshi - A LEGEND

It is with great sadness that I write this post, my great rival and friend Iwata-san has been transferred back to Japan from Malaysia by his company. Iwata-san was slated to leave a few years ago and as he consistently beat me in every run, triathlon and duathlon I can honestly say (and I'm ashamed to say) for a long time I didn't think I was goingto miss him.

As the years rolled by I resigned myself to the fact that he wasn't ever going to go so I'd better improve (or stop sulking at least). As it happened I did improve and the effort that it took was in no small part due to the inspiration I took from Iwata-san.

Gradually race after race we'd meet on the final run where he'd play all sorts of games with me and then stride away to beat me in the last few hundred metres. I worked on the basis that I would make him hurt a little more each race and at some point surely I must have a breakthrough. That time eventually came and never was there a more friendly and humble competitor in the way he congratulated me.

Our ding dong battles have continued, he has an edge over me in the runs, I have the edge on the bike and we're similar in the swim. A very exciting rivalry has built up but never a cross word or a sour face just a tremendous mutual respect. As you all may know, I hate losing but being beaten by Iwata-san is always a pleasure, partly because I know it'll make me stronger next time but mainly because he never lords it, he always makes a big and very genuine effort to congratulate his vanquished foes. If he isn't on the top step of the podium then he is gracious in defeat (but you know that you've also just made him stronger and more determined for the next race).

My last race against him was at Powerman 2009 but as he has now turned 45 he was in the next age-group up and I am pleased to say that we both won our respective age-groups which was a fitting and poetic end to our journey I think.

Of course he hasn't retired but just moved to Japan, he clearly loves Malaysia and is leaving reluctantly. He'll be back for as many races as he can and is vowing to race Ironman Malaysia 2011. No doubt he'll make some other "guest" appearances in the meantime so I'd better not rest on my laurels!

Shilpa and I attended his farewell dinner a little while ago (one of many farewell dinners it seems - he's been here a long time and has many many friends to say goodbye to). Sam & Carmen too.

Don Khor (another of Iwata-san's great rivals was there.

Not to forget Japanese Sam and Paparazzi Tey to record the evening for prosperity.

Iwata-san - RESPECT!

1 comment:

Luke Bream said...


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