Alvina Neo has been very active in sports her whole life, her favourite being cycling. Born with spina bifida, Alvina got around with braces and a forearm crutch. But, her body steadily weakened over the years, and at 14, Alvina stopped cycling and participating in any other sports.
For the following three years, Alvina frequented the hospital because of her worsening health. Her self-confidence was also impacted.
Then, Alvina found out about hand-cycling, and things started looking up for her. She learned about hand-cycling and the world of adaptive sports through a medical student during one of her hospital visits. Battling with her self-esteem and medical health, it took Alvina two years from her discovery of hand cycling to take the leap into the sport.
A new beginning
Hand-cycling restored Alvina’s confidence, and she has since become more willing to embark on new adventures and try out new things. She recalls the period when she closed herself off to new experiences before she took up hand-cycling.
“I used to be very negative and hard on myself in the past. I would always end up convincing myself that I wouldn’t be able to do anything before I even started. There was always the word ‘cannot’ in front of everything.”
Alvina has since scaled Mt. Ophir, hand-cycled in two 42km Marathons, and came in fourth in the Women’s 16.2 km Individual Time Trials cycling event at the 2014 Asian Para Games. Alvina also participated in the Women’s 48.6 km Individual Road Race, but was pulled out after dislocating her left shoulder. Yet, that did not stop her from pushing forward. Instead of resting and giving the 8th ASEAN Para Games a miss, Alvina decided to train for another sport: air pistol.
She found her training in hand-cycling to be particularly beneficial for shooting, as both sports engage similar muscles. With her newfound skills and talent, Alvina was a proud representative of Singapore in shooting at the 2015 8th ASEAN Para Games. With such determination to strive for excellence, Alvina is, indeed, shooting for the stars.
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