Small but mighty: Chelsea Ann Sim
19 June 2017
Despite being handed the cards that were given to her in life, Chelsea Ann Sim defied all odds and pushed through strenuous training year after year with the full knowledge that she might trigger her congenital heart condition if she exerts herself too much. Her petite frame – all of 150cm – has also never stopped her from winning countless Taekwondo competitions, and a SEA Games gold medal in 2015.
The bubbly 20-year has this to say about her height: “I feel small, but once I step into the (taekwondo) arena, I feel big. I tell myself that I must have confidence and belief in myself. This mental aspect makes me think that I am bigger than I actually am.”
The road to earning her place at the top of the SEA Games podium in 2015 was no small feat. Chelsea was pipped for the gold medal at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar. A controversial decision found her in second place despite a near-flawless poomsae (non-combat) performance. Being the tough cookie that she is, she refocused on winning the gold in 2015 on home ground – which she did.
“My family don't really get to see me compete in international competitions, so to win the gold on home ground was a very heart-warming experience,” says Chelsea. “Standing on the podium, seeing the Singapore flag being raised up and hearing the national anthem became one of my proudest moments.”
Standing atop shoulders of giants
My family is my pillar of strength; they support me in everything.”
– Chelsea Ann Sim
As a little girl, Chelsea harboured dreams of doing ballet or gymnastics like any other girl. Taekwondo came to her as an unexpected leisure activity when her elder sister wanted to sign up for a Taekwondo class at the community centre below her house.
“That was 11 years ago during my December holidays. My sister walked past the community centre and got interested in it. She dragged her little sister, me, along to it,” she quips. “It was more of a fun thing with friends. I never thought that it would become my life in the future.”
Chelsea's potential was apparent even before she attained her black belt. The height of her kicks combined with her passion to perfect her movements became a winning formula that ushered in numerous medals and trophies. But of course, the threat of her becoming breathless from her heart condition always loomed in the background.
“Both my sister and I have a heart condition, so my family was worried at first. But over the years, we got to know our physical limits and will stop for a rest once we feel breathless.” says Chelsea.
#ICYMI: Check out Chelsea's canvas on Facebook (on mobile only)
It also helped that her family was very supportive of her through the years. Her 86-year old grandmother, especially, follows Chelsea around for trainings and local competitions, becoming somewhat of a popular figure in her own right. Her mother, who is the breadwinner of the family working in a non-governmental organisation for women, is Chelsea's inspiration to become stronger as a person.
“Many people says that I resemble my mum. I would like to be like her in the future as well – small but mighty,” says the gold medallist.
The community supporting her in her dreams is hardly small, however. She has literally grown up under the nurturing gaze of her national coaches and the Singapore Taekwondo Federation since the tender age of 14. Her closest group of friends are from Taekwondo – a by-product of training with them six times a week, and sometimes even travelling to overseas competitions together.
“We travel together, we train together. We just have a lot of fun together. They are always supporting me, and I know that they have my back.”
Read on to find out what Chelsea has up her sleeves as she journeys to the 29th SEA Games in KL!
Click to find out two ways you can show your support for Chelsea AND stand a chance to witness the sporting action LIVE in the spectator stands!