It is not easy to qualify for the Olympics – it requires discipline, endurance and perseverance from the individual aspiring athlete. Most athletes are required to start training when they are very young. At that age, it is not easy to juggle the demands of school and training while being a regular kid.
What motivates and inspires such dedication at a young age? Here’s what two teenage members of the Singapore swim team had to say about their personal inspirations:
“I have always loved water play and beach outings ever since I was little and took up swimming to be water safe. As I developed as a swimmer, I realised that I enjoyed the thrill of racing and embarked on competitive swimming. My greatest inspiration is my elder sister, Ting Wen.” says sixteen-year-old Quah Zheng Wen, who will be competing in the Men’s 200m Backstroke and 400m Individual Medley.
To prepare for his big moment in the 100m and 200m Butterfly races, seventeen-year-old Joseph Isaac relies on his favourite music to help him: “There are so many distractions before a race – coach’s instructions, the swimmers next to you and the cheering in the stands. It energises, but it also makes me nervous. So I drown out the crowd with my favourite music.”
Tips on how to raise a champion child
As a parent you want the best for your child, but raising an athletic star requires your child to be the best in his or her sporting field. Talent and hard work are needed, however talent determines who gets selected to compete whereas hard work ensures an athlete stays in the competition.
1. Nurture your child’s potential. Your child is different from you and will be interested in various activities. Don’t push him or her into a sport they hate just because you missed out on it when you were young.
2. Be a good cheerleader. Be there for your child during his or her failures and triumphs and try not to be too judgmental. Good sportsmanship is all part of being a great athlete.
3. Have realistic but high expectations. Your child should always aim to do his or her best but they should not be only focused on results. It’s vital at an early stage to cultivate emotional resilience to prepare them for any later setbacks. When they are mentally strong they can become tough competitors.
We wish all athletes of Team Singapore all the best at the 2012 London Olympics and thank them for doing Singapore proud!