WHAT I'VE LEARNT FROM RIO OLYMPICS

Committed to using the Olympics as a vital lesson

Windsurfer Leonard Ong said the Rio experience has taught him the importance of planning.
Windsurfer Leonard Ong said the Rio experience has taught him the importance of planning.

The Olympics are regarded as the pinnacle of an athlete's career. What is to be learnt at the Games? Five recent Singapore Olympians tell The Sunday Times of their key takeaways.

National windsurfer Leonard Ong will always remember how his maiden Olympic outing made him realise the depth of commitment needed to fuel such a campaign.

The 23-year-old finished 34th out of 36 competitors in the RS:X windsurfing competition, but left Rio feeling inspired by the commitment of fellow competitors.

"At the Olympics... it's just those few guys who are at the top, and it's amazing to see how they peak after training so hard for four years, or even eight years, just for those four days of competition."

The Nanyang Technological University undergraduate also realised the toll an Olympic outing takes on not just the athlete but also those around them. Referring to his coach of two years, Sakda Sakulfaeng, Ong said: "He was there with me and he really helped me a lot by pushing me.

"Coaches (are) also friends and sometimes psychologists, and can balance those roles very well."

Ong remains unsure if he will bid to qualify for a second Olympics, but if he does, he now knows how much more he has to do.

"If you want to do your best and you really want it, you have to plan it out properly," he said. "Nothing comes by chance; there's a lot of deliberate planning and preparation to be done."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 04, 2016, with the headline 'Committed to using the Olympics as a vital lesson'. Print Edition | Subscribe