Interview Series: Captain Loh Zhi Ying, SEA Games 2015 Athlete

Zhi Ying

This Q&A was with Loh Zhi Ying, Men’s Captain – Dragon Boat Team Singapore.

ATHLETE PROFILE

NAME: Loh Zhi Ying
BIRTHPLACE: Tampines, Singapore
AGE: 22yo
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Full-time
POSITION: Team Captain
PADDLING SIDE: Right
HEIGHT: 175cm
WEIGHT: 74kg
STATUS: Single

MEDAL RECORD: SEA Games 2011 – Grand Finalist; Asian Champs – Grand Finalist
INTERESTING FACT: Has recently discovered the love for Crossfit.


Q: Being in the National team is a tough responsibility. What keeps you going?

A: Just sheer passion in the sports. I want to see this sport in Singapore do well and since I like dragon boat a lot, I also want to share the experience to other people. Personally, I want to learn a lot first at this sport and then help promote it to others.

Q: How important is the coach’s role in keeping the supportive and respectful climate in the team?

A: They are very important. Our Coaches are like ‘maps’. They are the one leading us to our end results. They also serve as our checkpoints—they keep an eye on us. As they serve as our guidelines and checkpoints, they make sure that we are on the right track towards our destination—achieving the goal of the team.

Q: How do you manage your pre and post training nutrition?

A: I practically eat the same thing everyday. I make and prepare my own meals. In fact, my Mom is my nutritionist. I would suggest to her what kind of food I want or need. Then when she goes to the grocery, she’s kind enough to buy for me.

Q: Is it your own research or is it one imposed by your coach?

A: As I mentioned, my Mom plays a vital role in the (internet) research of my diet. When my coach wanted me to lose some weight, my Mom would search the net or Google and pick the food I would need. I am also big into liquids like fresh juices and some whey protein.

FULL INTERVIEW HERE.

Photo Credit: Under Armour/Triple Pte. Ltd.


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Interview Series: Shona Chan Wai Kay, SEA Games 2015 Athlete

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This Q&A was with Shona Chan Wai Kay, National Athlete – Dragon Boat Team Singapore.

ATHLETE PROFILE

NAME: Shona Chan Wai Kay
BIRTHPLACE: Clementi, Singapore
AGE: 21yo
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Full-time
POSITION: National Athlete
PADDLING SIDE: Left
HEIGHT: 165cm
WEIGHT: 54kg
STATUS: Single

MEDAL RECORD: DBS Marina Regatta 2014 – Two-time Bronze Medallist; SEA Games 2013 – Bronze Medallist

National Athlete Shona, used to paddle competitive canoeing in 2010 when she was studying at St. Andrew Junior College. Aside from doing sports, she is also determined to focus on her studies. Currently she’s on her way of gaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Life Science at the National University of Singapore (NUS).


Q: How do you know if there is compatibility between an athlete and the coach?

A: You would know if the goals are aligned. The athlete and the coach may not have the same idea/s, so mainly if the goals are aligned then it will work. If for example, the coach wants to alter a training program or technique, the athlete on the other hand should want to try it for he/she knows that it’s for the best, it’s toward the achievement of a common goal.

Q: In your dragon boating career, did you encounter any major challenge e.g. injury, external restraint, et. al. How did you manage to move on amidst this challenge?

A: Yes I have. I injured my lower back in February of 2014, but it’s not a major injury but it sometimes trigger when I paddle long distances. To keep me moving on, when I joined the N-Team, I had this goal that I want a gold medal from the SEA Games 2015. So from the point that I joined, it was already set that I will stay all the way and we will get the medal.

Q: In your opinion, does it affect the National Athletes’ performance in terms of how they are being compensated?

A: I think it would affect them especially when they are going full-time. Travel expenses is one factor but it is not the most important factor; but, of course, some external help would keep the motivation when at times you feel like there’s nothing inside or losing the spirit and particularly now (interview time) that the trainings are really intense and we do have morning and evening sessions almost everyday.

FULL INTERVIEW HERE.

Photo Credit: Under Armour/Triple Pte. Ltd.

 
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What He Did For Love | A Tribute to Lee Kuan Yew

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I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There’s nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.

Lee Kuan Yew (1923–2015)

This post is a tribute to the life and times of the visionary leader, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He relinquished his life today at the age of 91.

Known to be the Father of Singapore, he helped build Singapore transform and rise to be amongst the First World. Apparently, though, this year is also Singapore’s 50th celebration of independence; it’s such a sad, sad circumstance that he will miss it.

Today, and certainly for many many years, we’ll always remember, with love and pride, his legendary leadership and contribution to Singapore, to South East Asia and to the rest of the world; and, clearly one that’s truly worth emulating. He is well loved and respected all over the globe—this, to us, is his greatest accomplishment–in his life, and, yes, in history.

His life and his legacy is a gift to us, to Singapore, and to the society in general. Let’s carry on with what the great man has built. As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his national address, “Let us dedicate ourselves as one people to build on his foundations, strive for his ideals, and keep Singapore exceptional and successful for many years to come.”

Thank you very much for everything you have done for love of country, your dearly beloved Singapore–for showing us how beautiful, how fierce and how strong that love is.

Fly high, Minister Mentor Lee!

Water is a Gift

World Water Day

The World Water Day is an annual celebration declared by the United Nations in 1993 to promote awareness on the importance of water and energy. This coming Sunday, 22nd March 2015, let’s join the planet in celebrating World Water Day and hopefully this would again remind us of the importance of freshwater. Everyone of us can be advocates of sustainable water and energy use.

Photo Location: Bedok Reservoir, Singapore

 
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Celebrating the Extraordinary

Brunei SEA Games Cambodia SEA Games Indonesia SEA Games Laos SEA Games Malaysia SEA Games Myanmar SEA Games Philippines SEA Games Singapore SEA Games Thailand SEA Games Timor Leste SEA Games Vietnam SEA Games

The 28th Southeast Asian Games 2015 (SEA Games) is only three months away; and this year’s theme is: “Celebrate the Extraordinary.” SEA Games’ opening ceremonies will be on 5th June 2015 and 16th June 2015 will be the closing ceremonies. The actual games will start from 29th June 2015, and medal ceremonies for some of the sports will be until 16th of June, the closing day. Refer to the complete competition schedule here.

This year is Singapore’s 50th celebration of independence from Malaysia. Dubbed as SG50, it is only appropriate that this beautiful island country hosts the SEA Games; the last time it hosted the games was twenty two years ago in 1993. It will be participated by eleven nations namely: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

What is SG50? As the committee poignantly describes, “It represents the little red dot that we’ve come to know as home. The logo celebrates the Singaporean spirit – signifying that our dreams are not limited by the physical size of our island nation.” Kudos to the one who put these words together; it’s simple yet very powerful. Visit SG50 for more exciting events and activities lined-up for the entire year.

The new generation of Singaporeans are generally sports and fitness savvy and I think it has become such an invigoratingly infectious environment that even those (at least most people I know) who are now living and working in Singapore are relatively more sporty and extra health conscious, which is a good thing. It is evident, too, in the massive participation, from both the locals and the foreign workers, in all small to big-scale marathons, dragon boat races, triathlons, and cycling events in the country, all year round.

Undeniably, I am very excited about the upcoming games and I just can’t hide it, ergo this post. What excites me more are the sports which I grew up with, either doing or those which I just simply enjoyed watching. I love all kinds of sports, so I will categorise all of the featured SEA Games sports in three ways:

Love doing.

Archery • Badminton • Basketball • Billiards and Snooker • Bowling • Boxing • Canoeing • Cycling • Football • Table Tennis • Tennis • Traditional Boat Race • Volleyball

Love watching.

Swimming • Rhythmic Gymnastics • Diving • Fencing • Golf • Sepaktakraw • Softball • Squash • Triathlon • Rowing • Synchronised Swimming

Love to try.

Water Polo • Equestrian • Floorball • Hockey • Artistic Gymnastics • Judo • Netball • Pencak Silat • Petanque • Rugby 7s • Sailing • Shooting • Taekwondo • Waterski • Wushu

On top of my list, of course, is the Traditional Boat Race or also known as Dragon Boat, as I have been paddling for almost twenty years now and the very first time I watched a Traditional Boat Race was in the SEA Games 2005 in Manila. It was held then at the La Mesa Watershed and Ecopark/La Mesa Dam in Quezon City, Philippines.

The venue for the Traditional Boat Race/Dragon Boat will be in the iconic Marina Bay. It will be a non-ticketed sport event so everyone will have a spectacular view of the races from the Waterfront Promenade, The Lawn or at The Promontory. It is happening on the 6th to 7th June 2015, Saturday to Sunday.

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Yes, it’s only a couple of months before the games, and to us who will be watching, we can only imagine the hard work of all the athletes who have qualified for each of the events/sports this year. We know it takes months and months, or, even years for these athletes to train for the games—the most prestigious sports meet in the Southeast Asian region.

The Heroes

As for the athletes, this journey, perhaps especially the last 100 days before the games, must be a very tough time for them—emotionally, mentally, and most of all, physically. As they push themselves harder and go through the last stretch of intensive trainings, morning and evening to most of them; we just have to send them all our best wishes and pray that they will be safe and away from possible injuries. These athletes are definitely heroes of the nation they represent and the flag they hoist with pride. Salute to all the SEA Games 2015 athletes!

The Supporters

As with the parents and families of the athletes, the excitement must be making them tremble at times, I suppose. I have had the good opportunity to interview a number of athletes who will be involved in the forthcoming SEA Games and when I asked them: Who’s your biggest supporter in this journey? They answered very easily: ‘My parents!’ Yes, Mom and Dad are on the top of the list and then followed by their fellow teammates, coaches and friends.

The Committee

As for the SEA Games technical committees, competition managers, local and international sports officials, and volunteers engaged in the process and those who will be involved during the actual games, the hard work and preparation are just as tough as they only want nothing but for the games to be facilitated smoothly, professionally, and more importantly, fairly for the all athletes of the participating nations. It must be tough working on the competition format, athletic policies, procedures, rules of racing, and the polishing of the technical handbook of each of the featured sports.

This 28th SEA Games 2015 has indeed brought so much excitement in the region not only because of the host country’s beautiful venues, people and culture, but because through the platform of sports, the Southeast Asian nations unite and integrate as one community having love and respect for each other. This coming June 2015, The Heroes, The Supporters, The Committee–the 11 Nations team up in Singapore for this big celebration of the extraordinary.

Brunei SEA Games Cambodia SEA Games Indonesia SEA Games Laos SEA Games Malaysia SEA Games Myanmar SEA Games Philippines SEA Games Singapore SEA Games Thailand SEA Games Timor Leste SEA Games Vietnam SEA Games

You must see these 50 Icons of SG, gorgeously collated by the amazing team behind SG50. It will make you smile. It will make you cry. It will make you proud!