Stephenie Chen (left) and Suzanne Seah winning the first Gold medal for Canoe at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar. (Photo by Sport Singapore)
An 11-strong Team Singapore’s canoe contingent will be travelling to Incheon, South Korea, carrying the Republic’s dream of a first medal in the Asian Games.
The team boast both experienced canoeist Stephenie Chen and Suzanne Seah, who have been training together since their first outing in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. The same pair also won two Gold medals in the Myanmar 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for the Women’s K2 500m and K2 200m event.
Their exploits four years ago in China saw the pair finish in a respectable seventh position in the Women’s K2 100m category. They will be looking to better their finish at this year’s Games.
Suzanne’s love for the sport began when she was 17-years-old. She joined the national team during her ‘A’ levels and has not looked back since. Her positive and cheerful character is a delight to the team and she appreciates the encouragement shown by Singaporeans towards her and the team.
“I feel that sport is one of the things that can make people happy, even by supporting it. And I like to make people happy. Moreover their support makes me feel strong, like Goku (the titular hero of a comic book) in Dragon Ball,” said Suzanne who clinched the Gold medal in the Women’s K4 500m and 200m event at the Southeast Asian Canoe Championships.
(L to R) Stephenie Chen, Geraldine Lee, Annabelle Ng and Sarah Chen clinched the Bronze medal in the Women’s K4 200m event in the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar. (Photo by Sport Singapore)
Stephenie also competed at the 2013 Asian Canoe Championship, ending the meet in fourth place for the Women’s K2 200m and K4 500m while taking fifth spot in the Women’s K2 1000m and K2 500m events.
At South Korea, Stephenie will be competing in the Women’s K2 500m and K4 500m while Suzanne is scheduled for the Women’s K2 500m sprint. Her current personal best for K2 500m is 1 minute 47 seconds during a time trial at the 2014 World Championships.
While winning is the pinnacle for any athlete, one of the greatest obstacles for them is to lift their spirits up whenever they fail to meet their objectives.
“You need to pick yourself up after losing a race and use it as motivation to train harder,” explained Stephenie when asked how she overcomes setbacks in her sporting career.
Bronze medallist Brandon Ooi at last year's SEA Games in Myanmar. (Photo by Sport Singapore)
Also looking to make an impact in the Asian Games is Youth Olympian and debutant, Brandon Ooi, who will be competing in the Men’s K2 1000m, K4 1000m and Canoe Slalom K1 categories.
The three-time (2010, 2011 and 2012) Singapore Schools Sports Council Best Sports Boy (Canoeing) recipient’s ultimate aim in the sporting scene is to make it to the Olympics and winning a medal at the World Championships.
“I think the greatest challenge was the break for exams and subsequently National Service. It set me back quite a bit during the time when I was not training,” commented the 20-year-old who is currently serving the nation.
“But ever since I’ve had more support from Sport Singapore and SAF, I have been on an upward trend and doing even better than I was before,” added an upbeat Brandon who clinched a Bronze medal in last year’s SEA Games (Men’s K1 500m).
“As well as the canoeing team; we are a tight-knit bunch and we constantly push each other to greater heights despite our sport being more individually oriented.”
While he will be thousands of kilometres away from home for the Asian Games, his heart still holds close to the support he receives back home.
“Support from Singaporeans is important as they are the ones we are representing at every competition. To know that our fellow countrymen are cheering us on back home is a great motivator and drives me to do my best for them!”
Let our athletes hear your cheers and support! Continue to pledge your support for our Team Singapore athletes via www.facebook.com/teamsg and instagram! #OurTeamSG
Also, check out Brandon's feature on Today as he gears up for the Asian Games in Incheon.
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