Limited funding: How Singapore athletes cope

Can't let parents' money go to waste

Mark Leong, who triumphed in the men's slalom at the 2015 SEA Games, tries to minimise the amount his parents spend on him to allow him to pursue his passion.
Mark Leong, who triumphed in the men's slalom at the 2015 SEA Games, tries to minimise the amount his parents spend on him to allow him to pursue his passion.ST FILE PHOTO

MARK LEONG, 17, WATERSKI

Receives $600 annually as a carded athlete

Achievements: 2015 SEA Games gold medallist in men's slalom

Dream: Asian champion within the next two years.

"Without the support of my parents, who pay for almost everything, there's no way I could have got to where I am.

"I've been doing waterskiing for four years now. It's quite a hefty sum they have invested.

"I do not ask them how much it costs because they always tell me not to worry about it.

"Equipment like power skis, life vests, gloves, handles, bindings and ropes can cost about $3,000 all together.

"Even a single ski can cost anywhere up to $1,000 and in a week I probably spend almost $300 on the ski pass for training.

"For overseas training or competitions, I do get some subsidies from my federation and Sport Singapore.

"My motivation to do well is not because of the amount of money my parents have invested in it.

"Rather, I want to do well because of all the moral support they have given me, the faith put in me, and I want to do them proud.

"When you're mostly self-funded, you have to make sure that you're super passionate about the sport because it's your own hard- earned money on the line and you have to put it to good use.

"I try to trim costs when I can to help them, like choosing to take budget flights and I tell them there's no need to buy me presents for birthdays and Christmas.

"They've done enough for me."

Vanessa Kang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2015, with the headline 'Can't let parents' money go to waste'. Print Edition | Subscribe