Rio good memories

Three of the 10 national sailors at this year’s Olympics were from NTU. Making their maiden Olympics voyage, they spill their tears, hopes and excitement to Kayce Teo

Leonard Ong
First-year undergraduate at Nanyang Business School
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“I took a semester’s break last December to focus on qualifying for Rio, travelling to China to practise with their team of windsurfers. Being overseas exposed me to stronger winds, larger waves and more experienced athletes, elevating my training.

Believing in myself is something I struggle with. I didn’t think I could qualify for Rio – the last windsurfer who competed at the Olympics was Kelly Chan, way back in 1984.

The Rio experience was nothing short of amazing for me. The best part was the palpable excitement when watching Joseph Schooling’s 100m butterfly race. Just getting to represent Singapore at the Olympics is so difficult, and it’s mind-blowing that he actually won the gold medal. Can you believe it?”

Griselda Khng
Sport Science & Management, Class of 2014

“I emptied my bank account, suffered from a rib fracture during training, gained 14kg to hit the weight limit, trained from morning till night, and drove across Europe for over 20 hours straight numerous times – once my trailer wheel even flew out! – just to chase my dream. I can’t decide which was the most challenging.

The vibe at the closing ceremony was awesome. It’s hard to put into words the fantastic feeling you get when everyone’s events are over and we can all just relax – for now. Next goal: a medal at Tokyo 2020!”

Jovina Choo
Sport Science & Management, Class of 2013

“I took unpaid leave from work to go into full-time training at the start of this year. I trained in Miami, Argentina and Spain. My teammate, Amanda, and I were in Rio one month before the Olympics to get used to the sailing conditions there.

I still remember the moment when we finished the final selection race to qualify for Rio. Our coach came up to us on the water and told us we won the trials. I didn’t believe him until I got back on shore and checked the official notice board for the race results myself.

At Rio, I kept hoping to bump into my idol, Roger Federer, at the Olympic Village, but it didn’t happen. I got a wefie with Rafael Nadal, though.”

Photos: Howie Photo/Singapore Sailing Federation