SINGAPORE - Run faster. Punch harder. Last longer.
With the clock ticking down to the SEA Games, Team Singapore athletes are steeling themselves – physically and mentally – for the task ahead.
The Straits Times documented the training sessions of seven of these athletes, just weeks before the June 5-16 games.
The athletes exude pride in representing Singapore, confidence in their abilities and determination to give their all.
In their video interviews, they also share some doubts and fears.
But once the torch is lit at the National Stadium, they will be ready to take on the best in South-east Asia.
Lim Wei Wen, 30, fencer
BEFORE TRAINING (left)“I am fencing for my people, my country. I want to win, I am an athlete. I am not weak, I am trained to be strong. So this moment is my moment. If I don't do this, I won't know what will happen tomorrow. Maybe I can't fence anymore.”
AFTER TRAINING (right)“I want more, I want more results, to inspire people and make people believe. So, I want more.”
Ridhwan Ahmad, 28, boxer
BEFORE TRAINING (left)“My hunger for gold is peaking nicely now. I never wanted to win a fight this bad. When I win, it's not my victory alone. It will be for Singapore boxing and for whoever dares to dream.”
AFTER TRAINING (right)“It doesn't mean you put in hard work for five years, you'll achieve a certain goal. Maybe you're just not good enough and fought someone a little better than you. Be patient, and stick to the plan.”
Gary Chow, 25, judoka
BEFORE TRAINING (left):“I want to push myself to see how far I can go... after the SEA Games, maybe towards the international circuit to be ranked among the top few in the world.”
AFTER TRAINING (right)“I defeated the 2011 defending champion in Myanmar in 2013 but I did not even know what throw I did at the time. It was just my body reacting to him. Coach says it takes about 10,000 practice throws to be good at one.”
Stephanie Chen, 20, & Crystal Yap, 19, synchronised swimmers
BEFORE TRAINING (left) “The biggest opponent is yourself. You are constantly thinking about how to do better for your routine. That's how you beat other competitors.”- Crystal Yap (right)
AFTER TRAINING (right)“This SEA Games everyone is more serious and focused. There is also more support for the team, so we want to do much more.”- Stephanie Chen (right)
Michelle Koh, 27, softball player
BEFORE TRAINING (left)“Mentally, I think we are well prepared. The Philippines being the top team in the region for so many years, it's actually an easier game to play because we have nothing to lose... I think we are training hard but our opponents are also training as hard.”
AFTER TRAINING (right)“Coach always says you can't win a game by yourself, it's when you play as a team that you score the runs.”
Max Ducourneau, 20, rugby player
BEFORE TRAINING (left)“There's definitely a lot of pressure before a game. There was once I went to the toilet seven times in five minutes. But pressure is good for you. If there is no pressure, it just means you don't care much about how you perform.”
AFTER TRAINING (right)“Even if my opponent is bigger than me, I want to show the team that I can bring him down. Just go for the legs and he will fall.”