An athlete can’t run with money in his pockets,

An athlete can’t run with money in his pockets,

An athlete must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head, says Emil Zatopek.

LAST WEEK’S STORY #01 (I really need to learn to update things on time)

So the story was that I received $10k at the MAP Awards Ceremony for winning Gold in the SEA Games. Woohoo! $2k goes to Singapore Rowing Association. And the most common question people ask me was, “What am I going to do with the $8k?” Let’s see. Last year when I was too busy training, I (sort of) forgot to pay almost a whole year’s worth of my University Loan, so $3k goes to my loans. I’ve always wanted to buy my own rowing machine but a brand new one costs $2k so I’ll hunt for a cheaper second-hand torture machine, hoping that it wont cost more than $1k. (You must be asking why would someone in the right mind spend a thousand dollars for something that hurts you and kills you slowly and cause you so much agony and pain right? Yeah. I ask myself the same thing too.)
And I’ll probably save the remaining money for my wedding which one of the local papers claim was “put on hold” HAHA. Received a text from a friend the day the article was printed and she asked me how come she didnt know about my wedding and I was like, “I HAVE A WEDDING?” Scary how the media can totally misinterpret your words! Anyway, you learn new things everyday. But in all seriousness, the $4k would be used to pay my Sydney hosital bills. Hefty price tag for a new nose, aye? My nose now costs $8k!
But I am truly grateful for the prize money, really. In fact, other than the RM100 that I won twice in a Putrajaya regatta a few years ago, this is the only time I receive some monetary remunerations for winning a race. What about a holiday, you ask? Tell an athlete to go for a holiday and don’t get offended if they burst out laughing.
A wise athlete once said, “The only holiday we get is the day after the Olympics”. WORD.

Another favourite reporter’s question for me has to be: What has changed since my Gold medal?

And my favourte answer is, nothing.
Nothing has changed, really.
It reminds me of the Lottery Winner theory whereby it was found that lottery winners are not significantly happier than non-winners. Overall happiness does spike after the win but will eventually return to pre-winning levels after a few months or so. That, is exactly the same way I’m feeling right now. Things have returned to normal where I have to train-work-train-repeat. Hanging a Gold medal around my neck doesn’t entitle me a seat on the train (or even a space in the train considering how sardine-packed the public transport are nowadays during peak hours) although I really do wish they have reserved seats for athletes after training- haha! Neither does it mean I am guaranteed a medal at the Asian Games or even the next SEA Games. I still have to train, even harder now in fact. I still have to work so that I am able to pay for my handphone and the internet and the TV bills at home.My mum still nags when I go for too much trainings (just because she cares). Life goes on. That’s the truth. Nothing has changed.
Of course, things like getting recognized at some events and having people coming up to me to say Hi and taking photos with me which makes me feel special for a while is pretty a new thing in my life. Exciting, but stressful sometimes. Maybe the hype of my win is still around because I’m still appearing in newspapers and magazines and what-nots, but soon, people might get tired of seeing this face and I have to work harder to make sure people don’t stop supporting my dreams. So people won’t stop wanting to know what Rowing is and wanting to try it out.
In fact, winning the Gold medal is an added responsibility on my shoulders. But of course, I am not complaining about it. Whatever comes, bring it on.

Thank you, SNOC for the prize money and for giving me the opportunity to even be at the SEA Games in the first place. To more Gold medals for Rowing;

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