6-time NSG Athlete Kieren Lee : Learn from your competitors. Win with humility and lose with grace
by Circle Stories, on April 1, 2021
(TeamSG Youth Sprinter, Kieren Lee)
By Circle Editorial Team
Current Team Singapore youth sprinter Kieren Lee, represented his Alma Mater Victoria School at the National School Games from 2017 to 2019. And prior to that, he also featured in the NSG from Pri 4-6. He specializes in the 100m sprint, 200m, 4 x 100m relay and 4x400m events as well. Presently studying in Tampines Meridian JC, Kieren is also part of the National U16 Relay squad and is ranked 2nd in the 100 and 200m sprints in his age-group. Here's the national sprinter in an email interview with Circle News.
1)How did you prepare for your debut at the National School Games?
It all started in 2014, but my years in 2018 and '19 are the more memorable ones, even though they had less achievements. I was training under Coach Margaret and with her guidance, I was in top form leading up to NSG.
2) Which discipline/s were you competing in?
100m and 200m sprints, 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
3)What was your target before the start of competition?
My target has always been the same, Personal Bests (PBs) and take each race as an opportunity to do that. I recall specifically in 2019, I wanted to be in the top 3 for both individual events.
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4)Were you afraid to compete at the NSG, especially against other top students?
Nerves will always be part of competition. To me, you can either take advantage of the nervous energy or you can crumble under the pressure. Generally, I'm more excited than nervous to race.
5)Where did your main challenge or opponents come from?
One of the most difficult challenges I faced was - Myself! The lack of self confidence and mental fortitude was rather daunting at the time. Anxiety leading up to the competition would always have me on edge, until I learned that nothing I did, would change the outcome of my competitors. But what I could control was how I was going to run.
6)Do you remember receiving any special advice just before competing?
"Run your race, focus on yourself, don't get put off by anything." That was something that stuck with me throughout my secondary school track journey. And it signifies that, I'm not always there racing against my opponents, but also race against the clock!
7)Did you have a lucky charm or a special ritual, prior to stepping onto the track to race?
During warm ups, I always like to shout out all my nerves, albeit yelling boisterously or "zoning in" and not talking to anybody.
I always say a little prayer on the start line itself, and after the race.
8)Tell us about the actual race where you went on to win a medal in the C Division 100m final in 2018?
I've always been a slow starter, and I recall being swarmed by those on the right and left, while they slingshot past me around the 20m mark. And slowly as the race progressed, I clawed my way back and by a very narrow margin (0.01 secs) to clinch 3rd place and a bronze medal.
9)How did you feel after competing in the NSG?
I feel more experienced, mentally stronger and more mature. I am very thankful to be able to run in the finals for both individual events and to compete in a world-class facility like our Singapore Sports Hub. Truly, it's an indelible experience, with memories and reminiscence of the unparalleled ambience of supporters.
10)If there's 1 lesson/experience that you learnt from the School Games, what would that be?
It would be that 1 race does not define you as an athlete. Be it a good race or a bad race, you shouldn't let yourself be shaken by it, but be more confident in your abilities, and know where you stand!
11)How did the NSG prepare you for further advancements in your sports career?
The many races at NSG helped me work on my race visualisation and execution under pressure. That's due to the required composure and focus, which is developed only through competing and turning an uncomfortable situation into one that is a familiar and customary.
12)What advice would you like to share with the 2021 cohort of students competing in the NSG?
Enjoy all the chances you have to compete, and embrace all aspects of competition ; most of all, learn from your competitors. Win with humility and lose with grace. Never, never take the chance to represent and compete for granted, and always focus on how to better yourself.