1. Tell us more about yourself and your volleyball life.
I started playing volleyball at the age of 13 in Yuan Ching Secondary School and fell in love with the game instantly.
I was fortunate to be selected to represent Singapore Schools in 1987 and for both National Youth team and National Selection Squad in the following year. In 1989, at the age of 18, I started my journey as a National athlete as part of the SEA Games squad for the 15th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I subsequently went on to represent Singapore in the 16th, 17th and 18th SEA Games. The 17th SEA Games was the most memorable for me as we clinched Singapore’s first ever bronze medal for men’s volleyball.
I was in the Beach Volleyball training squad for 19th SEA Games but did not make it for the games due to an injury. After that I continue to play various Asian beach volleyball tours for several years before I “retired” as a National athlete.
In 1999, I started professional coaching with local schools and it has been 20 years since I embarked on this career. I still enjoy coaching young players immensely as volleyball has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. 2. What are you doing to contribute to volleyball in Singapore?
I stopped playing competitively in 2017 when the Women’s team was, disappointingly not selected for the 29th SEA games in KL, Malaysia. I continued to contribute by “converting” to a trainer/ assistant coach for the Singapore National National Women’s team.
In late 2018, I decided to return to competitive volleyball and rejoined the National Women’s team as I hope to share my experiences with the younger generation of players. This is how I feel I can contribute to the Women’s National Team during the “twilight” years of competitive volleyball. To be honest, I do miss the adrenaline on the court when playing competitively, but it has also been challenging returning to competitive volleyball after taking a break in 2017.
2. What are you doing to contribute to volleyball in Singapore?
Being a professional coach for 20 years, I feel that my greatest contribution is helping to develop young school children in the sport and to instill values such as sportsmanship, teamwork and leadership. Volleyball is not just a sport or an interest, being involved competitively will help inculcate values which the players bring with them for a lifetime.
At the age of 48, I am still playing competitively in the veteran category with a few other ex-nationals. I hope to see more players continuing with the sport as they age and we can together make the local volleyball scene more vibrant.
3. What will you do to encourage more volleyballers to contribute in their own ways, to give back to the sport?
The Association is proactively organising indoor open events where people from different age groups can come together and compete. I encourage players of all ages to actively participate in these competitions. I also hope to see young players aspiring to represent Singapore at the highest level and it is this desire to compete at the highest level that will help build a pool of volleyball talents in the nation.
The Association, athletes, coaches and officials are the four key pillars of the volleyball ecosystem. To build a sustainable high-performance programme, we also need to ensure we develop our coaches and officials. I encourage those who are passionate about volleyball to be trained as coaches and match officials so they can continue to give back to the sport even if they stop playing competitively.