Against All Odds
It isn’t easy to start from scratch, but veteran and pioneer para table tennis players, Eugene Soh and Victor, went from not having a proper venue or equipment to having their team earn 9 bronze medals during one of their recent competitions.
Eugene has a lot to be proud of, from being an accomplished artist to being an extraordinary sportsman. He trains three to four times a week at either of the two venues currently dedicated to the para table tennis team, at Yishun or MND.
At the start, Eugene and Victor trained without any fundamental skills and were very grateful for the support and help from his coach, who, with the help of his wife, dedicated their time to training them. When asked what keeps him going through the rigorous and tedious training, Eugene simply said he is motivated by the high morale and spirit at the training centres. Their growing numbers help as well.
Younger para athletes have shown interest in the sport but due to their study commitments, they are not able to practice as often. However, they are very talented and pick up fast. They are keen on competing and have a strong fighting spirit in them.
Although para sports is picking up, with the help of SDSC and Paralympic Council, many Singaporeans still do not know much about para sports. Eugene hopes that the media would be able to inculcate more values and help Singaporeans to understand and support the para athletes more. He says, “We want to let people know that para sports helps us in our health, overcoming our sickness, and is a way to make our country proud.”
Despite all these, there have been a group of dedicated volunteers helping out the para table tennis athletes in many ways. The team has been very grateful for each and every one of these volunteers for the selfless giving of themselves and their time. The tight-knit group of athletes and volunteers is one of the reasons the volunteers come back. In the long run, the team hopes to be able to repay them in some way for all that they have done for the team.
Eugene normally trains 26 hours a week but increases the frequency and length of his training closer to competitions. For those who are keen on trying para table tennis but lack the morale or confidence, Eugene says that they should try it anyway. He is always keen on meeting new people and if anything, it would be a practical session.
Singapore will definitely be behind Eugene and be in full support this December!
Interviewed by Dis.Is.Able. Written by a very kind volunteer.
Pictures by stefanusian.com