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Game for life: sailing to success

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Sailing, running and medicine form three core circles in the life of Dr Benedict Tan. 

Known for his trademark consistency on the waters, the 45-year-old ex-national sailor has raised the profile of competitive sailing in Singapore. He shares lessons learned from the sport, and how they have helped him navigate through life’s uncharted paths.

“Sport is a stepping stone to something else, like character development,” he muses. “Through the years, sailing has taught me many lessons, many of which are transferable to academic pursuits, work and life.”

Since retiring from competitive sailing in 1996, he has turned his focus to recreational long-distance running, and has emerged as the third-fastest Singaporean in the 2008 Singapore Marathon. In a seven-year effort, he recently completed the World Marathon Majors, a championship-style competition that comprises five races in the cities of Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London and New York.

Dr Tan is quick to acknowledge that he got as far as he did because of teamwork. Although during his time as a sailor he specialised in the Laser, a single-handed boat, it was never an individualistic pursuit in his eyes. This perspective, he said, can be attributed to his father’s gentle orchestration of his early sailing career.

The above is an excerpt from “Game For Life”, a book that chronicles the journeys of 25 Singaporeans whose lives have been made extraordinary through sport. To read more about Dr Benedict Tan among other inspiring stories of hope and achievement, get your copy of “Game for Life” for just SGD$ 20 from SSC’s Sports Library located at 230 Stadium Boulevard, Singapore 397799.

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