by Peng You Xin
National badminton player Tay Wei Ming is determined to do well at the upcoming 8th ASEAN Para Games
“Dedication” is the word that comes to mind when you comprehend national badminton player Tay Wei Ming’s schedule. The 27-year old trains with his coach from Monday to Friday, twice each day. In addition to that, he practices on his own on Sundays, only allowing himself a breather on Saturday.
This has been his training routine since February this year, with the 8th ASEAN Para Games coming up in December.
No stranger to the para badminton scene, the upcoming APG won’t be Wei Ming’s first foray in competition. The player has picked up various medals, ranging from those he notched at top tier competitions like the world championships to prizes won closer to home.
His collection of medals and trophies is not a common feat for someone his age, though Wei Ming’s life was never quite ordinary.
Initially a healthy baby, Wei Ming was diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy after damaging the nerves from the right side of his neck downwards during the process of his birth. The condition affected the sensitivity and mobility of his right arm, so Wei Ming has been doing everything with his left, and that includes wielding his weapon of choice - the badminton racquet.
His love affair with the sport started when he was nine years old. Wei Ming’s father had a penchant for athletic activities and loved bringing his son out for weekend sessions of swimming, cycling and table tennis every week. As such, Wei Ming was exposed to a variety of sports early on, but badminton was the one that he believes it had the calibre to enable him to bring it to another level.
He loved the speed, intensity and challenge the sport posed to him. It wasn’t long before he decided to take his game one step further and competed in the annual Singapore Disability Sports Council’s National Disability League in 2006.
“I wanted to achieve something out of the sport, not just by practicing it. Badminton has taught me moral values that are needed in our daily lives. I train very hard. Besides that, it has also given me a lot of self-confidence,” confessed Wei Ming.
Besides igniting the spark of his passion, Wei Ming also credited his parents as his main pillars of support. He revealed how they had been nothing but encouraging, even though his training commitments took its toll on their time together as a family.
“My parents have definitely been giving me nothing but the strongest support when it comes to badminton, not just emotionally, but even financially for equipment. Due to the intensity of my training, I actually seldom have time for them but they never complain. They understand that I’m pursuing my dream,” Wei Ming said.
With family playing such a crucial role in Wei Ming’s life, one can understand the excitement and anticipation that competing on home ground for the 8th APG will bring.
“First of all, it is an honour to be able to compete in home ground. I’m feeling really excited with what’s coming up. It is also a great opportunity to showcase para badminton to general public and to play in front of my family,” he commented.
“I hope there would be spectators in all the matches (for all sports). I hope the general public will come and witness the Games. It will definitely be an eye opener for them.”
The Team Singapore representative openly expressed his admiration for many of his fellow athletes, revealing that he had always considered them to be his source of inspiration, instead of a famous badminton player.
“What they show me is something I can truly respect and relate. From overcoming their disabilities to them breaking through their limits when they are performing in their own sports, this is an attitude that really inspires me,” Wei Ming shared.
His ultimate dream is to bring back a Tokyo 2020 Paralympic medal for Singapore, and the 8th APG this December might just be his first step to getting there.