How’s this for a story of dedication and self-motivation…
With all the moving around in school, I found that playing sport in a team, like a basketball or soccer, was the best way to make friends. I'd join a team as soon as I got to a new place and make friends really easily. Everyone would have the same interests and it was such a good way to meet people. It kind of takes the pressure off starting at a new school.
Towards the end of high school, though, I wasn't doing as much sport and I felt I was missing something. I needed something personal so I decided to set myself a goal and I took up triathlons outside of school.
I trained myself and made my own programs because I didn't have a coach. I eventually did a qualifying race in New Zealand after about 7 or 8 smaller races in Singapore, just to see how I went, and I made the under 19 national team! It was all basically to show myself what I could do.
After qualifying I was like 'right, I want to do well. I want to get better.' So I found a coach and worked with him for the next year. I trained my arse up and went to Mexico for the International Triathlon Union World Championships in September last year.
It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, hands down. There’s a famous clip where one of the Brownlee brothers, who are the probably the best triathletes in history, collapsed just before the end of a race. Well that was in the race right after mine. If the elite athletes found it difficult to manage the conditions, imagine what it was like for an amateur competing in the same environment. The whole way I just had to keep pushing and pushing. I fainted at the end of the race actually, but all I wanted to was finish. I ended up coming 10th in the world though, and my goal was top 10 so it was great!
After Mexico I focused back on uni exams and kept up a little bit of training over Christmas. I actually find it reasonably easy to fit training in around study. It’s a lot easier when you have a schedule and it’s all down on paper. For example, I dedicate Tuesday and Thursday morning to swimming, so I go for a swim from 7 until 8, then on Wednesdays and Fridays I go cycling at half-past five. After that I'll have from 8 to 9 to get ready for class and everything. Then after class I'll go to the gym or go for a run.
It really doesn't take that long- half an hour to an hour is all. Even if you have a break in your day, it's easy to do 20 mins workout or something. I've found it actually helps because I get more awake and more stimulated for study. The endorphins are great! Then when it comes to go to bed at night, you're tired so you get to sleep really easily.