ST Athlete of the Year nominee: Maximilian Maeder’s letter to his future self

Over the coming weeks, The Straits Times celebrates outstanding Singaporeans selected for the 2022 ST Athlete of the Year award, backed by 100Plus. We asked our nominees to write a letter to themselves, a reminder why they chose this path paved with personal sacrifices and toil but also one full of hope and possibilities. This is kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder’s message.

Kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder has been nominated for the 2022 ST Athlete of the Year award. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Dear Max,
It’s August and you’re on the plane to the Hague for the 2023 Formula Kite Sailing World Championships. The top eight qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics, but hey, no pressure.

It’s very easy to look at your mistakes, shortcomings and try to rectify them. But please always try to remember you have strengths too.

Be proud of them, work on them more than your weaknesses and it will be a much more fulfilling and enjoyable journey.

Do the things that need to be done every day. Don’t skip training, gym or study sessions. You are the product of this daily routine and it is what has got you to where you are today.

There’s always more that can be done and one of your rivals is probably out there putting in extra time and effort. But remember, for you, the quality of time is what you focus on. Quantity is nice and desirable, but never forget that quality is more important.

It is quality training that helped you have a great 2022 season, helping you win five titles and finish second at the world championships.

Remember to also be grateful to the people who have supported you, whether it’s your family, coaches or training partners. Without them, you wouldn’t have been able to come so far. They have ensured you stay disciplined and dedicated, and these are key in your progress.

Others have worked hard too and they’re going to be tough competitors. Remember that you have to be respectful towards them and the people organising the races because they’re the ones who allow you to compete and have a wonderful time doing so.

Remember that frustration is always blinding but the other kitefoilers also work hard to get to where they are. Everyone’s talented and at the top of their game, so don’t worry or stress out about not being where you want to be all the time.

Try not to force too many things onto yourself. You’ll experience this sort of tense moment from time to time and what makes them special is you’ll always try to find a way to deal with them.

Remember that glaring mistake when you crashed in the final race of the world championships? It was nice to hear people say it was an uncharacteristic mistake, but you know it’s because your opponents took you to the limits of your capabilities.

You crashed mainly because multi-tasking while you’re racing is not a good idea. There’s a lot of information to process out there on the water, so remember to try to work through things one at a time.

The last time you were at the Hague (for the World Sailing Youth (Under-19) World Championships in 2022), you were 15, you felt sluggish and unstable and weren’t able to enjoy the place as much as you could have.

Now, you have a new way of looking at things and new techniques to use. Remember those murky, weird, wonky feelings and try to turn them into something positive so you feel nice, sleek and elegant this time.

Whatever the reason may be for YOU to compete, always keep that close to yourself. Resilience is part of being a good athlete, and so is having fun. Good luck!


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