Mountain View

The Balancing Act

Athletes / Feature Stories / Water Polo / July 22, 2016

Written by : Merey Tan

Photo by : Philip Au

When I was in the Uni, I was told that I should seek more exciting life options outside the 4 “L”s, which is Lecture, Lessons, Lab and Loo. Unfortunately I spent too much time debugging computer codes in the Lab and barely had much of a social life.

If ordinary folks like me had a tough time coping, then what about our student athletes who have trainings 6 days a week, and sometimes twice a day? Take our water polo guys as an example. Trainings start in the evening at 7pm and end about 10pm. While the training programs can be varied, the guys have to swim an average of 3 kilometers for training days on the water.

In the lead up to a major competition eg. South East Asian Games, there would be an overseas competition or training camp once a semester. So how do our athletes from water polo cope with their studies while playing sports at an elite level?

In case you may not know, water polo is a team sport that is included for the first time in the 18th AUG. We spoke with 4th year NUS students – Gilbert Beh and Koh Jian Ying who are playing their first and last AUG, as they will graduate from Electrical Engineering and Law respectively this year.

Gilbert attributed his successful balancing act to having supportive tutors who are understanding and willing to do make up lessons for him. In addition, his friends has been helping him to take notes and he made it a point to revise and get his work done whenever he has the time. NUS Sports Scholar and Singapore Captain Jian Ying, who has donned national colors since 2010 & took part in 3 SEA games and 2 ASIAN games, shared that it boils down to setting priorities and being disciplined. He also had good support from the professors and his school mates.

Ang An Jun, 1st year student in NUS Business Adminstration, quipped that he was able to access his lectures on broadcast if he were to miss any lectures due to overseas competitions. Some of the tutorials are also done online. It also helped to have supportive team mates while doing project work.

Lee Kai Yang, the goal keeper, is a first year Accountancy student at SMU. SMU offers  students the autonomy to choose their learning hours, so he made sure that he completes his lessons before training starts. If he misses his tutorials, he would email the professors directly to seek alternative time slots.

When Kai Yang applied for the Deloitte Inspire award, which is given to SMU students with exemplary contributions to the Sports, Arts and Community Work perspective, it came with a 10 weeks internship in the tax or audit department. Deloitte happens to be one of the most athlete friendly companies under the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI)’s spexBusiness network which allows athletes flexible working arrangements in support of their sporting aspirations.

NTU Materials Science Engineering first year student, Chow Jing Lun, secured his internship with Hyflux through the networking sessions organized by SSI with its network of 32 spexBusiness partners.

These student athletes are able to balance their studies and internships through supportive school arrangements and flexibility offered by their employers.

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