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2013 is coming to an end and 2014 is arriving. In summary, 2013 has been an unforgettable year for me. I’ve had my ups and downs and have definitely learnt a lot as the year went by. By far this is the most hectic year I’ve been through; hopefully 2014 would be as exciting as this!
Here are some of the huge milestones in my life:
1) ORD from army
After a grueling 1 year 10 months of army, I finally ORD-ed. To be honest, army has taught me many valuable lessons that I could apply in life. Teamwork was the key aspect of surviving army.
I’ve learnt a lot from one of my BMT mate Ken chin, he always had the never say die attitude when there was a task at hand and he made me learn the importance of teamwork.
During field camp, we all had to dig our own shell scrapes. I still remember our commanders telling us that the winner would get a bar of chocolate. During our BMT days a bar of chocolate was like heaven to us. Thus, I sprinted with the chocolate in mind and finished digging my shell scrape in 1 and a half days. (Not bad, eh?) but it wasn’t fast enough. Ken finished his shell scrape in less than an hour. Haha! He obviously won the reward of a bar of chocolate.
Envious, I continued digging my shell scrape, but I was too tired after awhile and I stopped. Ken walked up to me holding the bar of chocolate and he said, “Sheng Jun, take a bite of my chocolate, and promise me you won’t stop.” I was really shocked as he was willing to even share the bar of chocolate with me during the toughest time. I can honestly say that without the help of his chocolate bar, I wouldn’t have finished digging my shell scrape.
Ken went on and won the company’s best soldier and became a regular officer in Army. Respect to him.
This is a classic example of leading by example, glad I was able to be part of it. Thank you Ken, I have learnt a lot from you.
Photo with Ken (One with the yellow belt) during my BMT Days
2) Australia training with world class coach and swimmers
I had the opportunity to train with world class coach Michael Bohl, who has coached Olympic champions like Stephanie Rice and Park Tae Hwan. Olympic finalist include Ryan Napoleon, Meagen Nay and Mitch Larkin.
Initially I thought that Bohl would just put me aside as I was nothing compared to the other swimmers, but fortunately he was a really professional coach, he gave everyone equal attention and made sure everyone was motivated during training.
Training environment in Australia was really different. Everyone was motivated to train and push themselves to the limit.
In Singapore, I would usually be the one encouraging my teammates to go the extra mile, but in Australia, it’s the swimmers there that tell me to go the extra mile when I’m about to give up! Training in Australia has given me exposure to how world class swimmers train, and learn from them.
“Pangy, NO EXCUSES!” that was what Bohl always told me when I’m about to have a cramp or give up. I still remember he made me stay back once to redo the set as I couldn’t hit the target times given by him. Even though I was a lot more tired when I redid the set, my timings were surprisingly better. This has definitely strengthen my mental strength and made me realize that the body can do amazing things.
I remember this once I told Bohl that I had a cramp and I needed more rest, he said “Grant, please teach Pangy how to cure a cramp.” Grant came up to me, shook me and said, “TOUGHEN UP PANGY!!!” That was when I knew that giving up wasn’t an option for me and I completed the set well even with a cramp.
To conclude, training in Australia has made me a much tougher person. Whenever I get tired during training, Bohl’s voice saying “NO EXCUSES!” would constantly be replaying in my mind.
Photo with world class coach Michael Bohl
3) Turning 21
Managed to celebrate my 21st birthday with the people closest to me, couldn’t have asked for a better 21st birthday.
Photo (Left to Right): Caryn, Russell, Me, Enqi, Carol and Zhan Yuan
Family photo with coach and my sister’s boyfriend
4) Starting university
I started my first semester in Nanyang University of Technology, studying Sports Science and Management, where I get all my knowledge about Sport Science and nutrition from!
5) SEA Games Gold Medal
After 2 SEA Games, I’ve finally won a gold medal for Singapore. Can’t describe how much happiness I felt when we won the race. Flashbacks of all the setbacks I had in 2009 and 2011 SEA Games, and knowing that I can finally bring a medal home for my biggest supporters, dad and mum, it was just pure happiness.
Of course this wasn’t an individual effort. Many thanks to my family, friends, coaches and friends who have supported me throughout my journey.
2013 has made me a tougher person; hope it has been good for everyone as well! Let’s all strive for a better 2014!
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