Running on Empty: The Story Behind 0.01s

“I think I spent more time fighting the system and officials than actually running faster and faster.” —UK Shyam, in an interview with the media in 2004

Running on Empty is a revealing insight into UK Shyam’s journey—his beginnings as an aimless youth from a single-parent family to becoming Singapore’s fastest man. Powering past obstacles that are disclosed in this exclusive account, Running on Empty takes you through Shyam’s eventful track career from the 1990s to early 2000s: a period that saw him talent-scouted as a promising athlete, to making the heart-wrenching decision of quitting the sport, before his spectacular return as the golden boy of Singapore athletics. Never smooth-sailing, Shyam’s life as a sprinter was marked by a lack of financial support as well as controversy with the media and the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA), all of which often threatened to distract from his sprinting ambitions.

Written by former national sprinter Kenneth Khoo and extensively supported by interviews with prominent national athletes such as Ang Peng Siong and C Kunalan, sports officials and coaches, it presents the little-known lives of full-time athletes—the grit behind their glamour, and the fight against all odds.

This is the story behind 0.01 seconds.

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Running on Empty: The Story Behind 0.01s

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“No one should have to go through what Shyam went through. It was a miracle that he broke the national record for the 100m after persevering through a terrible period in his sporting career. Everyone in charge of sportsmen and sportswomen should read this accessible book and learn what not to do to passionate athletes like UK Shyam. And every reader will have a lesson to take away from Shyam’s eventful sprinting journey.” —C Kunalan, sporting legend and former national-record holder for 100m sprint

“Shyam’s story exemplifies the adversities of an aspiring athlete in Singapore with little resource and trying to make it in athletics. Faith may have provided us the opportunity to steer the outcome into a good thing. My father would have done the same thing and I’ve just taken a leaf off his legacy.” —Ang Peng Siong, 1982 world’s fastest swimmer and Founder of Aquatic Performance Swim Club


Kenneth Khoo