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jacey chia wta rising stars Jacey Chia (centre), an ActiveSG member, won the online contest that was run on myActiveSG Facebook to claim an excluive chance to meet the winner and finalists of the WTA Rising Stars. Photo: Getty Images

18-year old Jacey Chia had never watched a tennis match live prior to Sunday’s Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Rising Stars Final.

The student, whose ActiveSG membership won her an exclusive meet-and-greet session with the winner of the WTA Rising Stars Final, had participated in a myActiveSG Facebook contest for the unique chance to do so. Her very first tennis match experience involved the honour of performing the coin toss, a courtside view of the warm-ups, front-row seats, and some one-on-one time with the ultimate champion.

Now, that’s not too shabby for a first encounter, isn’t it? Little wonder that Jacey’s interest in the sport was piqued.

Explaining how she had stumbled into the world of tennis, she revealed: “I was surfing the Internet and chanced upon it (the contest)! I read a bit and watched videos online and found that Caroline Garcia and Naomi Osaka were very nice people, so I voted for them!”

The online contest required participants to name the two Rising Stars that they most wanted to see in Singapore. The first person to predict, accurately, the players who had qualified for the WTA Rising Stars here would win.

wta rising stars coin toss Jacey Chia (second from left), an ActiveSG member and winner of the myActiveSG Facebook contest, assists with the coin toss prior to the WTA Rising Stars Final. Photo: Getty Images

And, as luck would have it, Jacey got to watch Garcia and Osaka, the very two names that she had picked, battle it out on the court during Sunday’s finals. The nail-biting match saw Osaka beat tournament favourite Garcia two sets to one – 3-5, 5-4, 4-1 – in a thrilling show of perseverance and skill.

“Watching the match with my parents from the front row was exciting because we got to be so close to the players and the action. We got to see everything up close and follow each movement of the ball,” expressed Jacey, who had also received two additional tickets to the match.

“I got to meet Naomi at the meet-and-greet too. She’s a very cool person, and she’s only 18 years old – my age! She gave me an autograph and a bracelet that she was wearing. I got to take a photo with her and she let me touch her trophy.”

The family professed to have enjoyed their introduction to the sport and indicated that they would watch it more in future. Jacey, too, shared that she had picked up some important lessons.

“I have been inspired by the players. I’ve learnt from them that youth is not a limiting factor. You may be young, but you can beat players who are older,” she remarked, referring to 22-year-old Garcia’s defeat at the hands of Osaka.

Rising Stars Meet The Champion Jacey (far left) and her parents posing with the WTA Rising Stars Champion Osaka. Jacey won an online contest on myActiveSG Facebook for the exclusive chance to meet the winner of the WTA Rising Stars Final. Photo: WTA

“Of course, I’ve also realised the importance of being humble – both Naomi and Caroline are very humble and friendly people!”

Indeed, with the opportunity to meet elite international players and experience, first-hand, a world-class match, Jacey has certainly left with a lasting impression and newfound interest in the sport.
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