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A&C E-newsletter December 2023

Dec 15, 2023

Sportlight (Staffs being featured)

Lim Hong Zhen

Lim Hong Zhen

Technical lead, ActiveSG Hockey Academy who is also an international umpire

I was honoured to be able to serve as an international technical official (ITO), fulfilling the role of an umpire (referee) for the sport of Hockey at the 2023 Asian Games. This marked my third consecutive appointment to this prestigious event, signifying a continued commitment to the standards of international officiating.


One big highlight as an umpire was witnessing Team China Men's making into the Semi Finals by edging our Team Malaysia friends during the group stage. That really set up for a great night of hockey for the locals with the stadium packed. Of course, not withstanding, I was one of many Singaporeans there cheering our athletes who competed at the Games. Because of a demanding umpiring schedule, I could only cheer Shanti on television but that did not deter me from feeling a sense of immense pride when she won the women’s 200m track crown.

In person, I had the privilege of experiencing the intense live action of the Basketball Women's Finals held at the state-of-the-art indoor stadium. I also had the invaluable experience of meeting friends from other countries and walks of life. I recalled meeting a few Iranian officials while we were watching the Men's Handball Finals. They were extremely passionate about their team and cheered throughout the game. They even got me to try and cheer for their team and in the spirit of sporting camaraderie, I was offered some cookies for my efforts.

One quote that I would like to share with aspiring young athletes is ‘The man who wins is the man who thinks he can!’ An apt quote for high performance sports. Everyone is doing their best and performing at the highest level but it's the mental toughness that will give any athletes the edge when competing for podium spots!

(2nd from left)

Dr. Cheryl Tay

Team Lead, ActiveSG Canoe Academy

You might have heard about our Canoe Sprint team at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games because of the historic silver medal that Stephenie Chen clinched in the Women’s Single Kayak 500m event. From 25 Sep to 4 Oct, I travelled with the team of 8 athletes and 2 coaches as their Team Manager. My role was to ensure that the administrative matters were taken care of so that the athletes could focus on performing their best and the coaches could dedicate their full attention. No task was too big or small, from confirming flight details to collecting uniforms to carting over 100 kg of ice for the ice bath (being fluent in Mandarin helped!). In fact, the coordination started as early as April with our counterparts from the Singapore Canoe Federation, Singapore Sport Institute and Singapore National Olympic Council.

During the race days, it was surreal to soak in the atmosphere and witness in person the team’s achievements – all 5 boats qualified for their respective finals and placed 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th. What made it even more special was being teammates once upon a time and knowing how much blood, sweat and tears from the team and their families went into flying our flag high. Half of the team are also coaches at the ActiveSG Canoe Academy which I lead, and I am confident that the current and future generations of athletes will draw inspiration from their seniors and aspire to outdo them. It was a privilege to serve, and I am thankful for the support from my colleagues and bosses at SportSG that enabled me to take on this opportunity. 2029 would once again be Singapore’s turn to host the SEA Games and I hope all of us would come forward to play a part.

Feng Tianwei

Principal, ActiveSG Table Tennis Academy

Since her stellar performance at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Tianwei retired as a competitive athlete and joined ActiveSG Table Tennis Academy as Principal. In addition to the role, Tianwei challenged herself by pursuing a master’s degree in sport industry management from Beijing’s Peking University and is currently thick in action interning at the International Olympics Council (IOC) Switzerland to learn more about sport administration.

 

Question 1: Congratulations on winning the Sportswoman Award at the Singapore Sports Award 2023 on 23 August. How does it feel to be recognized for your outstanding achievements in table tennis, and what does this award mean to you personally?

I am honoured to obtain this award again. It is a good ending to my sporting career. The award means a lot to me and recognises my effort in table tennis.

 

Question 2: As Principal of ActiveSG Table Tennis Academy, what are some of your goals and objectives for the Academy and how do you plan to inspire the next generation of table tennis players?

As the Principal of ActiveSG Table Tennis Academy (ATTA), a key role for me is to groom the next generation of athletes. My years of experience and exposure in table tennis can help to guide athletes in ATTA and help them to strengthen their interest in table tennis.  We will focus on the fundamental of the sport in developing players. We also aim to strengthen the characters of our youth players, e.g. learning to be part of a team and be resilient. Working closely with the Singapore Table Tennis Association, we hope to contribute to the pathways and talent pipeline to the national team.

 

Question 3: What inspired you to take on a leadership role in coaching and mentoring young athletes?

I love table tennis and have very fond memories of playing the sport. I hope to be able to use these memories and experiences to cultivate the same love for table tennis in our younger players and support them in their sporting journey and achieving their potential. I am very thankful to Sport Singapore in providing me with a career that allows me to follow my passion.

 

Question 4: As a former athlete, how do you manage the physical and mental demands of competing internationally in table tennis? Could you share some strategies you apply on yourself to maintain your competitive edge.

As a full-time player, maintaining a healthy physique and skills is key.  As I get older, I need to be disciplined to focus more on physical health and ensure that I am always in a tip-top performance state.  Having a good analysis of my own physical well-being allows me to make adjustment to my training routine and improve myself.

 

Question 5: Could you share some memorable moments from your career that have left a lasting impact on you, either on or off the table tennis court?

My most memorable game was at the Commonwealth Game where I lagged behind my opponent by 0:3, and eventually came back and won the match 4:3.  It was a match that I would never forget.

 

Question 6: Lastly, could you share some tips or techniques for improving one's table tennis game that aspiring players can benefit from?Mastery of table tennis requires constant practice to make it perfect.  Approach every training session with curiosity and embrace it as a totally new experience.

 

 

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