International Women's Day: Singapore athletes share their sporting inspirations

National synchronised swimmer Debbie Soh (left) and national golfer Jen Goh. PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Monday (March 8) is International Women's Day and The Straits Times speaks to several national athletes to discover who inspires them and why. Here is what they said.

Debbie Soh, 22, artistic swimming

"I look up to Natalia Ischenko from Russia because of how great her technical skills were in artistic swimming. It was also very inspiring to see that she could take a break from the sport to give birth, and even came back with an extremely lean athletic physique. I'm also inspired by Jacqueline Simoneau from Canada as she is always bubbly and lively in and out of the pool, and seems to have a very good work-life-school balance."

Jen Goh, 25, golf

"Lorena Ochoa, former world No. 1 in women's golf. Not only was she a trailblazer, paving the way for female golfers around the world to overcome the odds, she was also an incredibly positive role model off the course- sincere, affable and always thinking of the less fortunate."

Yeo Jia Min, 22, badminton


"Naomi Okuhara. I trained with her when I was younger, I remember admiring her work ethic then and wanted to have the same attitude that she had both on and off court."

Amita Berthier, 20, fencing


"Silver Olympic medallist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Korean fencer Nam Hyun-hee would be my role model and inspiration. I first met her in person when I was nine. Her nimble footwork and dedication to the sport have had a tremendous impact. She never stopped fencing after becoming a mum and still continues to inspire many by setting up a club and training the young ones upon her retirement. She is passionate, dedicated, humble and has a champion's mindset."

Feng Tianwei, 34, table tennis


"Li Na. She is my role model in terms of her big and strong heart in her journey to becoming the first Asian player to win a tennis singles Grand Slam title. She took control of her own career, built her own team, decided her own schedule, and achieved great success."

Gan Ching Hwee, 17, swimming


"Katie Ledecky. She constantly pushes the boundaries of what females can achieve, especially in distance swimming."

Ho Puay Ling, 27, hockey


"Julia Jankunas, who plays for the Argentina women's hockey team. Even at the young age of 22, she has already shown that hard work and determination, when matched with talent, can lead to success: she has played several international games and represented her country at several tournaments, and her speed and deadly elimination skills on the field continue to inspire me. I love watching her play, and her approach to training and commitment to achieving her goals is something I aspire to."

Charmaine Soh, 30, netball


"Ameliaranne Ekenasio from the (New Zealand) Sliver Ferns. Other than being really good on the netball court, Ameliaranne is a tough cookie and never fails to shine through the darkest moments. She is also the perfect model for leading by example."

Martina Veloso, 21, shooting


"Danke Bartekova. She is a shooter like me, but also an Olympic medallist and International Olympic Council member. I met her in Singapore years ago and I was inspired by the things she has been doing, especially with her involvement in the IOC, and I hope to be like her too someday."

Yip Pin Xiu, 29, para swimming


"Amanda Lim, Stephanie Chen, Shayna Ng. My friends in the local sports scene are always there for me and we push each other to be better athletes and people."

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