APG2018: Wei Soong wields sensitivity and awareness in his quest for success
02 October 2018
Don’t let Toh Wei Soong’s quiet demeanour fool you. You might not be able to tell what is going on in his head when holding a conversation with him, but you can definitely see the cogs in his mind whirring.
An ecstatic Wei Soong at the 2017 ASEAN Para Games, after realising he had won the gold medal. Photo by Dyan Tjhia / SportSG
When he lays out his responses, they are well-thought-out and elegantly strung together. The TeamSG swimmer is pensive and sensitive, pausing a lot to select his words with great care.
With sport and life, it is the same. Wei Soong possesses the remarkable ability to translate his acute observations and varied life experiences into what he perceives are the right decisions at a particular point, or into a certain learning point and positive energy.
Expressing how he copes with the rigours of high performance, he said: “Every day, we are trying to achieve an ideal – that perfect training session, perfect nutrition, perfect rest. I find that there’s this constant need to review what we are doing and whether it conforms to the ideal that will get us the success.”
At just 20 years old, the talented youth has already notched five ASEAN Para Games gold medals and a Commonwealth Games bronze medal, achieving all these while juggling school and sport.
Wei Soong at the 2017 ASEAN Para Games. Photo by Dyan Tjhia / SportSG
Now, Wei Soong is taking a year off his studies to train full-time. Without academics in the way, he speaks of new challenges such as accountability and public image, displaying the self-awareness that has brought him so many achievements in life.
And so, with a nation’s expectations on his shoulders, he has found a way to translate the pressure into something else – the motivation to mould himself into a model of an athlete, share his experience with youths and promote disability sports.
He has embraced sacrifices and pain, for he has long since learnt to internalise and transform them into successes.
“Knowing that the pain and suffering goes towards something you’ve promised yourself to do, you get into the pool and you train. And every day, you get a bit better, a bit quicker, and you can tell yourself that the pain is worth it,” he said.
Taking time to reflect on the path to regional success
How does Wei Soong hone this special skill? It all comes down to reflection and writing. He makes time for reflection at night, when there is less noise and stimuli, and all that is left “are the thoughts in [his] head”.
He has written, made films, and created music, as he shared: “When you’re a writer, you have a need to be observant, to understand how things and people work. It allows me to better understand what I’m doing at a particular moment, it gives me some sense of what else there is around me, an awareness of something beyond myself and my position as a swimmer, a young man.”
Even when he is victorious, he processes the feeling of triumph, keeping himself grounded and raring for more by turning it into a learning point. After all, there are other races to win and new milestones to hit, such as the upcoming Asian Para Games in October.
“If I feel that I have put in the work and I’ve held myself up to the ideal that I’ve agreed to follow throughout the training process and I do my best, I don’t think I can be disappointed too much with the results that I get,” Wei Soong said, when asked about his goals for the Games.
As he explained: “When I receive a medal, when I hit a personal best, I see it as a milestone that will show me how far I’ve come, and hopefully point to where I can go in the future.”
Cheer for Wei Soong during the 2018 Asian Para Games, held in Jakarta from 6 to 13 October. Stay tuned to our Team Singapore Facebook, Instagram and website for exclusive updates and features!
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