Injury woes drag on for Ho

Roanne Ho on the podium a year ago after winning the 50m breaststroke at the SEA Games. Despite her latest setback, which will put her out for the rest of the year, she is determined to return and defend her title in Kuala Lumpur.
Roanne Ho on the podium a year ago after winning the 50m breaststroke at the SEA Games. Despite her latest setback, which will put her out for the rest of the year, she is determined to return and defend her title in Kuala Lumpur.ST FILE PHOTO

After collapsed lung, she now has to undergo shoulder op but still aims to be at SEA Games

Just when national swimmer Roanne Ho thought she was back in the pink of health and on track for a comeback, the SEA Games 50m breaststroke champion has suffered a fresh setback.

In January, she suffered the agony of a life-threatening collapsed right lung.

Her injury hell has continued following a posterior labral tear in her right shoulder and she will undergo surgery next Tuesday at the Singapore General Hospital.

It is a devastating blow to the 24-year-old full-time athlete, who will not be able to compete for at least another three months. The latest layoff means she has effectively been ruled out of competition for the entire year.

She said of her frustration: "I was super disappointed. I think I cried more than when I found out that I could die. I cried as though the world was going to end."

Before her shoulder injury, Ho had been targeting a return at the June 23-26 Singapore National Swimming Championships, which will serve as the qualifiers for November's Asian Championships.

Although initially distraught, she is now able to see the brighter side of things and said with a laugh: "To put it lightly, I thought that since I had not trained for so long and the Singapore nationals are in two weeks, I'm not going to be ready in my best condition for it anyway."

Her latest injury occurred in April when she over-extended her right arm while working on a pulley weight machine that simulates swim strokes.

At the time, she felt that the injury was not that serious, and she continued to train while going for physiotherapy and cortisone injections.

Ho said: "I think I was always having a glimmer of hope that a miracle would happen."

Yet while the swelling subsided, the clicking sensation she felt in her shoulder with every stroke in the pool did not go away, and neither did the discomfort.

Two MRI scans later revealed she had to go under the knife to regain her full mobility and strength, a quicker solution than choosing to let her shoulder heal itself.

In fact, she postponed her surgery from Thursday to next Tuesday to mentally prepare for her second operation in less than half a year.

Despite her injury-blighted year, the plucky swimmer refuses to let these setbacks halt her career. She is determined to come back stronger and defend her crown at next year's Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

Ho said: "I've been talking regularly to (national coach) Sergio (Lopez) and Gary and they told me to look at the big picture. I'll just treat this year as an off-season. I cannot go any lower than this already. Once the whole shoulder heals, I'll be back training to prepare for the SEA Games."

National assistant coach Gary Tan said: "We're 100 per cent behind her. There were so many things going against her this year but it is OK. We've just got to shift the goal posts a bit. We hope she can recover speedily and she'll eventually be back."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'Injury woes drag on for Ho'. Print Edition | Subscribe