Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The NST : Learning life values through sport

According to national swimmer Khoo Cai Lin, competitive swimming has taught her many invaluable lessons in life

I STARTED swimming when I was three years old. When I was 12, I wanted to see how far I could go in the sport, so I participated in various interstate swimming competitions such as Majlis Sukan-Sukan Sekolah Malaysia and two years later, I was selected to join the national swimming team.

After years of training and competing, I qualified for the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. These are my biggest achievements to date. I love the opportunities that come with my sporting career such as travelling to different countries, meeting people and experiencing new cultures.
Swimming has given me a sense of belonging. My coaches and fellow swimmers make me feel I am part of a community. Most people meet their friends at a mall or a cafe. I meet mine at interstate and international swimming competitions and training sessions. My life is indeed vastly different from that of my peers. The friends I’ve made in the swimming community are my support system and there is a sense of camaraderie among us.

With swimming, I have honed many integral life values which are parallel to the daily challenges I face in life. Physical strength, discipline, dedication, perseverance and time management are some of the invaluable life values and skills the sport has instilled in me.

I am pursuing my degree in public relations and marketing. It is essential that I utilise my time effectively and efficiently as time management is key to keeping up with my fast-paced world. In order to strive for excellence, I need to maintain a crucial balance between my swimming career and my studies. I believe the discipline that has been inculcated in me has helped me set my priorities.
 Like everything else in life, I have learnt that at times winning is not everything. Medals  don’t make an athlete. Losing allows you to identify weaknesses and work on self-improvement. It teaches us to be humble and to keep pushing ourselves to do the best.

I am grateful for my family’s support and understanding because as a national swimmer, I stay at the Majlis Sukan Negara dormitory on weekdays to train and only go home on weekends. My family understands my commitment to my career and they spend time with me whenever I am home.
They have given me the freedom to pursue my goals. A parent’s encouragement is vital to a child’s growing interest in a sport. However, parents should not be the only ones involved.  Society needs to play its part as well.

I hope my story will inspire our young athletes to pursue their dreams. With the encouragement and support of my parents, coaches and peers, I have set my sights on greater heights and will strive to achieve the best outcome in next month’s SEA Games in Myanmar.  

Swimming has given Khoo a sense of belonging.

Read more : http://www.nst.com.my/life-times/health/learning-life-values-through-sport-1.411918

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