Representing My Country Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

11.5.2015
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Paralyzed in a fall when she was 19 years old, Claire turned to sports.

She first tried hand cycling. It was the people in the hospital that encouraged her to take up sports. “Initially I was quite reluctant…but the moment I got onto the handcycle and started hand cycling, the feeling was awesome,” says Claire, smiling. “They said it was the first time they saw me smile after always being so gloomy in the hospital.”

Discovering table tennis

Eventually Claire decided to focus on table tennis, a sport she enjoyed playing when she was in primary school. It has a new meaning in her life now that she’s a wheelchair-user and representing Singapore in the ASEAN Para Games for table tennis. “I’m very honoured to be given this chance to represent Singapore,” she shares. “Everyone around me has been very supportive…it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”

Claire’s main goal is “To do better than I am now,” she says. “I love playing table tennis.” She would even take it up full-time if given the chance. Table tennis has made Claire a better person, more patient and independent. She focuses on training to be an even better person and aims to continuously improve herself so that she can be the best she can be.

“There are skills but you have to be very sharp and think very quickly.”

Through table tennis, she has learned to be more patient, but it’s still something she’s working on. “The coaches have been telling me not to be so anxious and be patient and to do it slowly,” she shares. Even though table tennis is an individual sport, her teammates make training meaningful. “It’s quite fun and you’ll see awesome people around,” she says.

Claire has advice for anyone thinking about trying table tennis. “Just come out and try…No harm trying,” she shares. Claire is much happier than she was before and she has her family to support her all the way. Even though she’s training intensely for the upcoming para games, Claire still makes sure she spends enough time with her family. It’s also possible to play table tennis for recreation, it just depends on your interest.

Share this post with someone who might be interested in trying out table tennis! You might be able to put a smile on their face.

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