Saturday, 23 May 2015

[Straits Times] Late sporting icon's advice

TEAM Singapore's chef de mission Tan Eng Liang has called on athletes to outdo themselves at next month's SEA Games so that they can do their parents, schools and country proud ("Athletes, outdo yourselves"; last Wednesday).
With all the coaching and training, each athlete must also develop self-discipline and mental focus to give his best.
I have always admired the late badminton player Wong Peng Soon. He won the All-England badminton championship singles title in 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1955, and was a member of the victorious Malayan Thomas cup teams of 1949, 1952 and 1955.
His deft drop shots, powerful left-hand flicks and nimble footwork have few comparisons.
His "secret weapons" were skipping ropes and dumbbells that he used off-court to develop feet and wrist dexterity.
On the few occasions I came under his coaching at Queenstown Secondary School, I was mesmerised by his skills and could not get even one point from him.
His parting words to me were "no late nights, no smoking and no drinking" if you want to compete well.
Gan Kok Tiong