What I've learnt from Rio Olympics

Team Singapore Olympic athletes.
Team Singapore Olympic athletes.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO/ ST FILE, ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

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.

Embracing defeat to work towards improving


Jasmine Ser's results in Rio may not have measured up to the effort she devoted to her preparations, but those experiences will help shape the national shooter's new training regimen. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

These Olympic Games were supposed to be where Jasmine Ser made the breakthrough she had been training for. Instead, Rio became the site of the biggest setback of her shooting career.

She had expected to leave Brazil with at least a place in the eight-woman final, if not a spot on the podium. Instead, she returned to Singapore with a painful lesson in embracing defeat.

"I realise I need to have an even more positive attitude," said the 25-year-old, who has not picked up her rifle since returning from Rio about a fortnight ago. "Because if you don't believe, then you'll stay in this state.

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Liang fully focused on reaching Tokyo 2020


After her debut Olympic experience in Rio, national shuttler Liang Xiaoyu has already set her sights on making the Tokyo Games in 2020. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO 

Even though the next Olympics are still four years away, Singapore's top female shuttler Liang Xiaoyu is already full of belief that she can make it to the Tokyo Games.

The 20-year-old said she will now shape her training plans with 2020 as a clear goal in sight.

Barely two weeks after returning from the Rio Games, she told The Sunday Times: "These Olympics have changed my mentality. After this competition, I am clearer that the Olympics are my long-term target which I will plan for and develop towards when I come up with my future training plans."

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Wearing the nation's colours is for professionals


Quah Ting Wen is electing to stay positive after Rio in what will, for her, be an evolving journey in sport.

It was supposed to be her comeback meet, redemption for missing out on the London Games due to a freak injury when she broke her arm in a surfing accident.

But Singapore swimmer Quah Ting Wen, currently taking a break in the United States, will be the first to admit that the Rio Olympics were far from the cathartic outing she had envisioned.

Despite training overseas for months, Quah clocked 1min 00.88sec in her only event, the 100m butterfly. It was off her personal best time of 59.38sec. She finished 34th out of 45 swimmers and did not make the semi-finals.

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Committed to using the Olympics as a vital lesson


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

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."

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Making a run for Singapore athletics


Timothee Yap is eager to take the lessons learnt from the stars of the track in Rio, including Jamaican Usain Bolt, to help the growth of the sporting fraternity here. PHOTO: ST FILE

Sprinter Timothee Yap wanted his 10 seconds of glory at the Olympics to be more than just about wefies with his idol, Usain Bolt.

So he watched and learnt from the best in Rio, including the likes of Bolt, Canadian Andre De Grasse and American Justin Gatlin.

"They use the toe drive off the starting blocks (where sprinters come off the blocks driving the toe of their trailing leg low across the ground instead of kicking upwards on the second stride) while most of us use a cycling motion that wastes more time. They also have really good hip movement so their strides are longer," recalled the 21-year-old.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 04, 2016, with the headline 'What I've learnt from Rio Olympics'. Print Edition | Subscribe