14 Jun Live your dream, share your passion. On sponsors and people who need to really move on in their lives.
So, news is that I am currently supported by 4Fingers. And yes there has been a bit of a concern regarding the fact that it is a fast food chain and it is known for its fried chicken and I am an athlete and I shouldn’t be endorsing unhealthy food. Firstly, I would like to clarify that the company is sponsoring me out of goodwill and does not expect me to hold up one of their yummy chicken wings or burgers and promote them. Secondly, 4Fingers is an example of a company that other local businesses should follow suit because like I always say, the local athletes need the community to grow and develop. This may be the start of something even bigger, who knows?
I am truly grateful to 4Fingers for coming forward and supporting me. Working with them have been great. The people at 4Fingers are genuinely happy for me when I qualified for the Olympics. Steen, the CEO of 4Fingers, is a rower himself and before I raced at the qualifiers, we met for dinner in Sydney and he shared with me some of his experience as a competitive rower and I learnt a lot from him then. I’ve known him since I first started rowing and he has definitely seen me come a long way!
Talking about genuinely happy people on hearing the news that I have qualified for the Olympics, I have come to realise the difference between people being happy for me and those who are really happy for me. Well, all I have to say is that, thank you for being happy for me, whether you really meant it or not. Being in Singapore especially has made me realised this difference and it just confirms the fact of life that you cannot make everyone happy.
Anyway, herein lies the problem. The bane of the issue on sponsorship is the tendency for people to start stirring negativity whenever news about me and money appear. I am grateful to these group of people who are genuinely concerned for us, athletes, and our welfare, hoping that we would receive more support from the govt. Moreover, I have these people to thank because together, they created one voice which made the govt wake up their idea about supporting the local athletes. However, I hope that those who simply like to make use of my story as a once self-funded athlete to pick on the flaws of the govt would move on because times have changed I believe that Singapore Sports have progressed. We might not be able to compare with the giants in sports like Australia, New Zealand and UK but there is progress and progress serves as motivation.
It would be easy for anyone to complain about the govt and comment about things on the internet, but do they realise the impact it has on others? Do they realise that voicing their opinions without the knowledge of the full story (although the full story has already been out there for the world to see previously) would cause me more problems rather than helping me? My name and my stories have always been pegged to how the govt is not supporting the local athletes. I think it is about time we move on from that because the govt is already supporting me through the SpexScholarship which has totally changed my life because now everytime I put my boat on water and dig my oars in, I never have to worry about money, like how I used to do. I am getting the support I needed. It doesn’t and will not make me a rich person. But I am able to live on a day to day basis comfortably while I train.
The sporting scene in Singapore still has a long way to go but there has been major developments since I first started rowing 12 years ago. It used to be a far-fetched goal for a Singaporean to be a full-time athlete but look at where I am today. Of course, we all know, it did involve a lot of fighting for myself, and for the sport. It did involve a lot of having to prove people wrong and showing the world what I’m made of. And that is just the tip of the things that was involved in getting to where I am today.
Anyway, another company, has also stepped in to help me in my sporting journey. The great thing about working with Herbalife is that they sponsor product lovers. Before signing the deal, they provided me with the products to try. Honestly, I have never been a fan of supplements and nutritional products but I dare say that the Herbalife products that I have used since a year ago has definitely helped me supplemented my training.
The beautiful thing about these companies stepping up to support me isn’t about how much they give but what they believe in. This is what I envision the future of Singapore Sports to be- when companies start believing in the local athletes and coming forward to help them/us. When the people stop complaining about what the govt is lacking in and instead help to grow the community by providing solutions and helping each other out, our sports will have a future.
So I strongly believe that this is only the start of something even bigger, InsyaAllah.
Thank you to the companies who have jumped on board in my Olympics campaign. Thank you for believing in me. I’m excited for what is yet to come for the next few months. At the end of the day, I know that I cannot make everyone happy but I always continue to fight for my dreams, for my sport and for what I believe in because I will never know who I might inspire.