1. Tell us more about yourself and your volleyball life.
I finished my National Service as a Commando in 2018 and started my undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering with the National University of Singapore (NUS) recently.
As compared to the others featured on #PeopleofSGVolleyball interviews, my volleyball life has been pretty short! I started playing volleyball at the age of 9 while in Ai Tong Junior College. I was selected for the ASEAN School Games (ASG) Volleyball team in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Subsequent to my stints with the ASG team, I continued with the National Youth setup throughout my National Service days and was selected into the National Men’s training squad in 2018. My first cap was representing Singapore for an invitational tournament in Taiwan in November 2018.
The Taiwan experience was immense for both myself and the team. It was the first time we travelled and played together. That experience really bonded us as a team and I think we did pretty well, beating the Taiwanese host 2-1 and took a set each from the Malaysian and Vietnamese club teams. We also went on a training tour in Bangkok, Thailand earlier this year and to the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Men’s Club Championship in April 19.
I hope we can have similar opportunities for such overseas competitive experiences going forward. Playing at regional/international level really help us to grow as a team and that is really important!
I am extremely fortunate and humbled to be able to represent Singapore, playing with the best players in the country and the sport that I love. Volleyball has taught me many life lessons, e.g. approach adversity with an infectious never-say-die attitude, growth mindset to stay grounded, stay humble, and never be egoistic.
2. What are you doing to contribute to volleyball in Singapore?
As a current national athlete, I believe that the way for me to contribute to volleyball is giving my 110% at training so I can maximise my potential and help to bring glory for the nation!
We have an extremely young squad (average age is less than 20 years old). As one of the “older” players and Vice-Captain of the team, I make sure that I take the lead during both strength & conditioning sessions and court training. I constantly remind myself to recognise the differences (in character) in the team and sought harmonious ways in a group setting to try and achieve a compromise between team mates if there is any misunderstanding.
I make it a point to act as a mentor and role model for the younger players in the National Tea. As national athletes, we also have the responsibility to act role model for young aspiring volleyball athletes. I hope to have more opportunities to share my personal experiences and insights with fellow volleyballers and younger players and hope to inspire them to work towards representing Singapore!
3. What will you do to encourage more volleyballers to contribute in their own ways to give back to the sport?
I believe the most direct approach is to keep playing! Everyone plays a part at the community level. I am quite new to the local volleyball calendar as I was mostly playing at the school level competitions for a large part of my volleyball life. I thought the Premier and Championship Series are fantastic as they create a year-long calendar for the fraternity, as compared to the old format. I also notice there are more age-group level and community level competitions in recent years which complements the school level competitions, and they creates more opportunities for the younger players to play competitively.
With greater participation at these competitions and over time, we can increase the popularity of volleyball in Singapore. And this will also mean that we create a pipeline of players who will ultimately be representing Singapore in the future!