Head in the game, ahead in the game

14 May, 2015  

Our Sporting Hero. My Neighbour. Feng Tianwei.

Feng Tianwei is no stranger amongst Singaporeans after bagging many medals in table tennis. But success never comes easy. The 28 year old takes training extremely seriously and never habours any thoughts on giving up or slacking.

Aside from a rigorous training regime, Tianwei also delights in local cuisine. She says she misses local food when she is away for too long and would hurriedly find ways to satisfy her cravings once back in the country. We speak to the athlete to find out how she first picked up her table tennis bat.

Chatting with Feng Tianwei

Q: Where do you live?

A: I used to live in Toa Payoh and just shifted to Yio Chu Kang.

Q: Do you have particular places in Yio Chu Kang you enjoy hanging out at?

A: As I am always out of the country for competitions, I am still trying to know the area better each time when I am back. There isn’t any particular place at the moment till further exploration!

Q: What are some of the places you like to go after training?

A: I train in Toa Payoh so I tend to hang out around the area after my training. I always patronise the coffee shop just opposite the stadium where I have my meals. Sometimes I will also travel to Ang Mo Kio Hub with my teammates for a wider variety of food.

Q: Your coaches must have some food restrictions when it comes to your diet, what is your guilty pleasure?

A: Of course, we are always advised not to eat high calorie food, or food high in sugar and oil. So for my general health and fitness I will avoid that. But I especially love noodles, and they are guilty pleasure because they are both high in sugar and calories. It’s really hard to resist sometimes. Especially when I am overseas for trainings or competitions, I find myself craving for chicken rice!

Q: It’s not easy being a sportswoman like you, what are some things you always tell yourself when you feel like giving up?

A: Table tennis is not just my profession but my passion too! I have never considered giving up what has been a big part of my life. Our coaches constantly remind ourselves to be better than we are at present and I think that is what is important, telling myself to focus and to press on.

Q: How did you first start playing table tennis? Was there a moment that made you want to pursue table tennis?

A: My mum liked table tennis and she got me to pick up the sport. I’ve been playing table tennis for about 24 years now and I can’t see myself doing anything else. It’s something I want to focus on and do well in.

Q: As a child playing table tennis, did you ever want to play another sport?

A: I’ve played other sports too when I was a kid, but because table tennis was what I first picked up, I didn’t really think much of the other sports. I saw table tennis as something I could do well in someday, perhaps as a profession. However I have never thought that I could make it this far, but I always knew that it was something I wanted to put in hard work for.

Q: Do you have any embarrassing or unforgettable memory while playing Table Tennis?

A: I don’t recall anything really embarrassing. I always try very hard to be focused and put my best foot forward when I am in the game. There was once though, when I was very exhausted and trying very hard to be focused, I broke down during training. I think I was at tipping point.

Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals, such as listening to music to clear your mind?

A: That doesn’t work for me as I find that a little too distracting instead. I will usually keep to myself and get into the zone prior to the game.

Q: Are you superstitious?

A: Not really, but I realized I tend to wear red when I have an important game ahead. I just feel that red sets me in the right mood for the game.

Q: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

A: I want to have a body that will never get injured or fall ill. A body that just keeps getting better and better; that would be really ideal.