Sporting Life: When a small island is big on sporting inspiration

(From left) Managing editor Dominic Nathan, sports editor Lee Yulin, winner Loh Kean Yew and F&N Foods Singapore managing director Jennifer See at the ST Athlete of the Year award ceremony. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
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SINGAPORE - Martin Luther King was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Ernest Hemingway, singer Billy Joel by The Beatles. Everyone looks up to someone, is partially sparked by someone, and this power that a stranger can have on another person, to lead them forward, is a very poignant and human thing.

This capacity to inspire is essential to sport. The great deed rouses a boy and leads him to dreaming. A girl switches on a TV and feels compelled to play. Autographs are sought of New York Yankees players even by Bruce Springsteen and his son. Influence travels across sports and Chris Plys, a curler, once said he had a blown-up photo of Michael Phelps on his office desk.

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