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AG2018: Choppy waters and strong headwinds all part of the journey for rower Joan Poh

19 August 2018
Lee Yaocheng


It’s the journey that matters, not the destination – so the saying goes.


Team Singapore rower Joan PohTeam Singapore rower Joan Poh. Photo: Sport Singapore


Team Singapore rower Joan Poh never quite believed this until she participated in this year’s Asian Games.

“I didn’t know that before. To me, the destination was the goal. But the lead up to this Asian Games taught me that the process matters,” said the 27-year-old who finished ninth in Sunday’s W1X rowing event with a time of 9 min 48.40 sec.

“Sometimes when I read quotes from other athletes that the process is more important than the outcome, I didn’t think much of it.”

“But I really believe it now that I have gone through just the tip of the iceberg with the Asian Games. And I can imagine the road to the Olympics to be a lot tougher.”

“Focusing on the outcome won’t change anything, but focusing on the process can change the outcome.”


Team Singapore rower Joan PohTeam Singapore rower Joan Poh in action. Photo: Sport Singapore


She also had to make arrangements with the World Rowing Organization to train with the Hong Kong team for four months.

Despite the choppy waters and strong headwinds, in both racing and life, Joan’s had to take all of them head on. And it was by going through these various trials and tribulations that she has gained independence and vital life skills.

“Taking initiatives and making it all work out, these are all life skills that I don’t think I could have learnt somewhere else.”

While life hasn’t been smooth sailing for Joan, she has lost none of her optimism and drive. She still has a clear dream in mind, and will do whatever it takes to achieve it.

“When you do something like this, there has to be a greater cause. Something greater than yourself,” said Joan, who comes from an underprivileged family.


Team Singapore rower Joan PohTeam Singapore rower Joan Poh in action. Photo: Sport Singapore  


“I feel like I’m different from other athletes and I want to show that we can attain the same dream even if we may have started from different points."

“If you want it bad enough, you will find ways to get it.”

The journey at the 18th Asian Games is not over for Joan. She will be competing in the Repechages on Tuesday 21 August, where rowers who did not qualify on the first time of asking get a second chance.

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Tags: Major Games

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