Courage doesn’t always roar,

Courage doesn’t always roar,

Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.

For the past 3 weeks I was here in Sydney, I have been training on water on my own (with my coach) and you know when you’re doing these lonely, steady state pieces, with your coach hovering right next to you spotting every mistake you make, you ask yourself, “What am I doing with my life?” -which I am hoping my coach isn’t reading this because I should be thinking of how to make my technique more efficient and how to make the boat go faster. but you know how your mind wanders off sometimes. Like when your legs burn during a hard session, you think off how awesome your legs will look after you’re done with the session. And then, you’ll push harder. Lol. #HowAnAthletesMindWorks

Anyway, thankfully, this week, I’m back to “normal” training and I’m rowing with a group of girls over at the shed who happen to be Australia’s fastest Junior Women Pair which is amazeballs. Rowing with them really makes a hell lot of difference in my trainings. And by “normal” training, it means, doing crazy-ass set pieces on water that make your legs quiver in lethargy when you get out of the boat. Trainings that make you wonder, “DID I JUST DO THAT?” And then look forward to waking up at 430am the next day to do it again despite having sore arms and back and legs. Trainings that make you want more.

Yeah, its addictive when you get the hang of hard work. Because you know hard training only makes you harder to beat.

Chey, #QOTD I see.

Look’s like Aisyah’s back. Don’t you just love it when Aisyah stops complaining about how horrible life is without being able to row “normally”? I love it too.

Talking about hard work, so I heard that there’s a team back in Singapore training for the upcoming race (which will be held at Marina from the 18th to 22nd June, btw). I’m excited for the newbies- the brave young souls who have taken the leap of faith to join this sport. I really do hope that they understand the amount of hard work, perseverance and commitment it takes to be a rower, though. Because rowing does take up a lot of your time and your life. I really can’t stand people who do things halfway, or without putting in their hearts and souls into it. Or don’t even get me started on people who do it just because they want to wear the flag on their chest. God, please, no.

It is an honour to represent your nation on international grounds. I’ve always believed that when I’m at an international regatta, I am an ambassador for Singapore. How I talk, how I behave, how I react, how I race- basically how I do everything- will reflect on the people in my country. So I do apologize to my fellow Singaporean if foreigners think that the females in Singapore are like princesses. But if princesses do work hard and win medals, why not? Teehee.

Anyway, back to the story of the new rowers, I am really excited for the future of my sport. Much has changed since I won (Alhamdullilah) but much more changes need to be done for us to be OARSOME for the SEA GAMES 2015. As a rower, there is nothing much that I can do right now but to train hard and get people to train as hard as me, or even harder. I am so excited to be in a big team, a medal-winning team! Because for my first SEA Games in 2005, there were 5 of us in the team. In 2007, only 2 of us went to Thailand. In 2011, it was 4 and last year 1. GAAAAH. AREN’T YOU EXCITED?

People tell me they “understand” what a rower goes through but then they tell their children not to do sports because there is no future in it. The media featured my success story on perseverance but to me it’s not just a story, it’s 10 years of my life. Ten years, I could have brought up a baby and whom now would have been in Primary 4. Ten years, which I started off being dead last in every race I went to and I told myself, “It’s okay, it’s for experience” not realising that I was where I always ended up at because I never changed what I did. I took the easy way out for everything. It’s easy for me to say that I understand what a construction worker goes through, earning a few dollars each day, just enough to make ends meet back at home and have a prata a day or something. But I will never know how hard it is for him to be away from his wife and kids and how much work he has to put in for his job and here I am complaining about the heat and how tired I am after training. “Understand” is just a word thrown around by humans to show that we care, but we don’t really mean it.

But for the new rowers, and the old ones too who have been rowing for years and not achieved anything since, you can’t just “understand” what I went through. You can’t just “understand” what it takes to be a rower. You gotta know it, accept it, go through every single day knowing that it will get harder, and just keep moving forward. It’s more than just “understanding” because you’re not going to be at the spectator stand watching the regional’s best compete amongst each other. You’re going to be on water, fighting for that podium finish. And to get there, do more than just “understanding”.

And that’s why no one will ever “understand” how hard it is to be here alone in Sydney, fighting for something which is not even guaranteed that will end up in my hands (i.e. Asian Games medal and a spot in the Rio Olympics). What they see, and what I show, are my happy faces, my weekend adventures to new places, my pretty new dresses and shoes. What they don’t see is what matters most. What they don’t see is what others will enver “understand”.

So, 12 more days till I go back home. I will learn and improve as much as I can before its back to weekday coach-less trainings and lonely sessions. It will be hard, but courage will keep me going, like it always has.

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