Then and now: Ywen and David in 2011 when he first started coaching her, and now in 2015 as teammates training together for the SEA Games. Photos courtesy of Cynthia Lau & Jaclynn Seah/SINGSOC.
Four years since fencing sabre team captain David Chan started coaching 15-year-old Lau Ywen, coach and student now stand side by side as teammates in the national team representing Singapore at the upcoming 28th SEA Games.
Ywen is the youngest member of the 24-strong Singapore fencing contingent and her fencing journey actually began in foil, where she won the U-12 Girls title at the Singapore Minime Fencing Championships in 2011. But shortly after that win, she switched from foil to sabre, a decision partly motivated by David who started coaching sabre for his fencing club around the same time.
It only took a year under David’s coaching for Ywen to qualify for the National sabre team, and she is currently ranked second for women’s sabre in Singapore. While David is no longer her coach, Ywen still holds him in high regard, “David is demanding and inspiring and awesome, whether as a coach or teammate.”
“I met her when she was just this tall,” said David, holding a hand at waist level. “I also said she would never grow taller than me, but it looks like I might have to eat my words,” he mused as he glanced over at the 1.68m tall Ywen, now much closer to his eye level than ever.
Ywen had an impressive SEA Games debut, garnering a bronze in the individual and team women’s sabre events. David earned a bronze in men’s team sabre, contributing to Singapore’s record haul in fencing where they scored a medal in all 12 events.
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This author of this article is a volunteer content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.