DISMAY: Middle-distance runner unhappy with Goldberg’s claims
JIRONI Riduan paid tribute to his coach A. Trapadi after a little-known American trainer attempted to steal the glory from the Sea Games double gold medalist middle distance runner.
The 27-year-old Jironi was taken aback when Sam Goldberg made several postings on Facebook and also sent the Sea Games 800m and 1,500m winner text messages claiming to be responsible for Jironi’s success.
However, athletics hero Jironi, a leading contender for the 2013 Olympian of the Year award, set the record straight in an interview with Timesport yesterday by giving Trapadi full credit for his Sea Games performances.
“I only trained using Goldberg’s programme for a month in August before deciding that his methods were not compatible with me,” said Jironi when contacted at his hometown Miri.
“I could not adapt to it so I went back to Trapadi who was more familiar with my style of running. I worked with Trapadi from mid-September until just before I left for Myanmar.
“So I was surprised to read what Goldberg posted. He also texted me saying that it was due to his training that I won.
“I was annoyed with that because all the credit for my victories must go to Trapadi, who helped me a lot to deliver the two gold medals.”
Goldberg, a former decathlete, arrived in Malaysia in the middle of the year seeking a coaching position with the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF).
MAF put him in charge of Jironi before asking the American, who made unflattering comments of Malaysian coaches and athletes upon his arrival, to look after a few decathlon athletes.
Jironi took exception to a posting by Goldberg on pole vault coach Manshahar Abdul Jalil’s Facebook page which read: “Both Jironi and I did our very best under the most difficult circumstances.
“However, Malaysians must not forget the brave support and keen insight shown by (MAF president) Datuk Zainal (Abidin Ahmad) and MAF who despite the well documented opposition from some national coaches and NSC (National Sports Council), stood fast in their belief in both Jironi and myself.”
Jironi announced his intention to quit the track after his wins in Naypyitaw and will turn to marathon running next year.
First he will return to his teaching position at the Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School after the New Year holidays.
“Once I finish my holidays, I will return to Johor for the new semester. This is a new beginning for me,” added Jironi, who fulfilled a long ambition of a winning a Sea Games gold in his fourth campaign.