Shooting for Gold: Charmaine Soh
03 July 2017
After coming out victorious in the 2014 Asian Netball Championships, the Singapore netball team had their next mission cut out for them – net the gold medal in the 2015 SEA Games.
With the team’s winning form, high morale and home advantage, the stars seemed aligned for another celebration in 2015. Delivering on their expectations, not only did the team prove their mettle by out-scoring their strongest opponent, Malaysia, in a nail-biting final, they also made history by winning Singapore her first ever SEA Games gold medal in netball.
One-half of the shooting duo responsible for the Singapore win is goal shooter Charmaine Soh, who improved her already stellar shooting accuracy within the duration of the Games and learnt to drown out distractions from the capacity crowd.
“We had a draw with Malaysia during the round games. When we met again in the finals, it was quite scary. I knew my parents were looking at me from the stands, with my friends, fellow Singaporeans and my teammates. I felt that I shouldn't disappoint them.”
And making them proud she did. She reined in her nerves to contribute an astounding 38 out of 46 points in the finals against Malaysia, dethroning the defending champions.
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Curiosity that led to her passion
Before Charmaine bore any resemblance of being a future netball hotshot, she was a girl who would play the piano and study. She first picked up netball at the age of 13, out of curiosity. However, she soon found herself in love with the sport after two to three months of training, to the point that neither her mother nor a broken wrist could stop her from turning up for trainings.
It was at this point that glimpses of the future netball star could be seen. Rather than taking a total break from netball because of her injury, she continued to train and participate in exercises that did not require the use of her hands.
“I had a huge scolding from my mum and piano teacher after I fractured my wrist. Well, things didn't turn out the way they wanted to because I secretly went back for training to be together with the team,” Charmaine confesses. “I would also go out for runs with them and ran in a certain way so my wrist wasn't affected.”
#ICYMI: Check out Charmaine's canvas on Facebook (only on mobile)
Two months later, when she was fully recovered, there was no stopping the young Charmaine from attending netball practice.
“When I got back, I went into training straight, because I really wanted to be a shooter. I practiced before school, during recess and after school. Before I started going into netball for real, I had already decided to be a shooter.”
The turning point to her family becoming her top supporters was in 2011 when she debuted in the 2011 World Championships. From that point onwards, Charmaine’s family would turn up for her local and international matches, sometimes giving her feedback on her performance that could be more straightforward than her coaches'!
From being a curious girl, to taking in interest in netball, to shouldering the expectations of the nation to win gold, what's next in Charmaine's netball journey this SEA Games is literally going to be unchartered territory.
Read on to find out what Charmaine has up her sleeves as she journeys to the 29th SEA Games in KL!
Click to find out two ways you can show your support for Charmaine AND stand a chance to witness the sporting action LIVE in the spectator stands!