Uncategorized True champions before we dared dream of Olympic glory

True champions before we dared dream of Olympic glory




- Advertisement -

By: Howard Lee

Theresa Goh shook my hand with a vice-like grip. Underneath that big smile, you will see an athlete you don’t want to mess with.

Back then, she and buddy Yip Pin Xiu attended almost every event we organised leading up to London 2012. In spite of their training, they took time out to be real ambassadors of the sport they love and the country they represent.

When together, you hear them chatting about all sorts of things, but mostly it was about qualifying times, injuries, training, event categories, medal hopes. They spoke as if they have been training together all their lives, if not known each other all their lives. They were true athletes, and the nation only got to see them at their best when Theresa clinched a bronze at Rio 2016, after Pin Xiu secured a gold at the same.

- Advertisement -

The truth is, they have been at it for ages, far longer than most of our Olympic athletes. They braved not just their own disabilities, but their own doubts. We hardly took notice, but they kept on going in a sport that became very much a part of their lives.

In essence, they were professionals and our champions, not because they could bring home gold, but because they have true grit.

That is what we have been missing in our quest to be a sporting nation. For too long, we have focused on the results. We grant National Service deferment based on qualifying criteria, never thinking that deferment might actually help them get to the qualifiers faster and with less pain. We give them the best in coaching and facilities, but expect them to return some of their earnings. We award out athletes only when they perform, rather than give them the assurance to take the leap into the abyss.

Even so, that award is skewed. Five more golds would not bring these two Paralympic champions any much more financial gain compared to their Olympic counterparts with one. Sponsors continue to see the Olympics a cut above the Paralympics, believing in prestige and return of investment more than the value of our athletes.

- Advertisement -

And yet, they stood on the world stage for us, overcame all odds and did us proud. At this point, Singapore should be humbled, not bask in their glory.

Because you can count on Theresa and Pin Xiu, if they are able to quality, to be back again four years later, wearing our colours and doing us proud. And they will do so not because they have a shot at a medal, but because they still have that same true grit.

We cannot count on our system, however, to do them the justice they truly deserve.Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg 

No tags for this post.
- Advertisement -

“Are you a police? Or police dog?” Man asks fellow train passenger who reminded him to wear mask properly

Singapore — A man’s rude behavior on the train was caught on video recently wherein he asked a fellow passenger who had requested him to put his mask on properly, "Are you a police? Or police dog?” The video was posted on...

Civil servants to get 0.3-month mid-year bonus

Singapore-- Singapore civil servants will receive a 0.3-month mid-year bonus amid "significant downside risks" through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Public Service Division on Friday, Jun 18. Junior-level civil servants will also receive a one-time payment. Officers in grades MX13(I) and MX14 will...

‘Anti-masker’ in MRT says S’pore should let him go because he wants to leave

Singapore – A 39-year-old British expatriate arrested for refusing to wear a face mask while in the MRT told The Daily Mail that he should not have to go to court and be released because he wants to leave the country. The...
Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg 

No tags for this post.