London's calling the Ow Yong brothers

In September last year, Tottenham Hotspur die-hard fan Chaan Loung Ow Yong had the opportunity to meet his heroes up close.

On holiday in England to celebrate his 29th birthday, he travelled to Yorkshire to catch Spurs play a Premier League game at Huddersfield Town.

"Because Huddersfield's home stadium is one of the smaller ones in the English Premier League, the bus carrying the players would stop nearby and the players would walk into the ground, and later back to the bus," he explained.

"So, after the game, I squeezed to the front to try and get photos with the players, and I managed to get one with Harry Kane, who was really warm and friendly."

That picture, of a grinning Chaan Loung and the Spurs and England captain, later became a tool to playfully taunt his older brother, Chaan Hoa, who is also a rabid Spurs fan.

"Harry Kane touched his hair!" lamented the 36-year-old with a wry smile, while shaking his head.

Next month, Chaan Hoa could well get his own hair ruffled by Kane - and the rest of the Spurs first team - after his brother won them a dream trip to London in the "AIA Mission: Spurs - Celebrate Courage Over Adversity" contest.

Partnering former national skipper Nazri Nasir, the insurance group had launched the social media contest in July to find passionate Spurs fans in Singapore who have managed to overcome life's challenges and have since adopted a healthy and active lifestyle.

Chaan Loung Ow Yong's treasured wefie with Tottenham Hotspur and England striker Harry Kane. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHAAN LOUNG OW YONG

Unknown to Chaan Hoa - who is based in Hong Kong working for a financial company - Chaan Loung had entered on his behalf, sharing the story of how his older brother refused to let a serious knee injury dampen his passion for football.

His story of how Chaan Hoa overcame the blow of tearing his anterior cruciate ligament to return to playing after more than a year, touched AIA and Nazri.

"Chaan Loung's video was very genuine," said Nazri.

"The fact that he made the entry because of his love for his brother also made it different from the others."

Added AIA Singapore chief customer and marketing officer Ho Lee Yen: "Chaan Loung's story stood out for two reasons - being there through the good and bad, and advocating for healthier, longer and better lives - both of which speak to what AIA Singapore stands for and what the contest was about.

"His story about overcoming adversity as a family and how the two brothers were always there for each other throughout their life journey was truly inspiring."

The Ow Yong brothers, along with Nazri, will visit Spurs' training ground and watch them host Manchester United on Jan 14.

He has watched Spurs "live" twice, in 2011 at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea posted a 2-1 comeback win and in March, when the team lost 2-1 to Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"Don't worry, it'll be third time lucky for you," quipped Nazri.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2018, with the headline 'London's calling the Ow Yong brothers'. Print Edition | Subscribe