Sailor Teo, 71, looks forward to crowd's cheers
For Teo, oldest member of Team Singapore, winning is not the most important goal
His mood swings became significant when his knees began to give way 10 years ago.
Suffering from polio, every step Anthony Teo took hurt and very quickly, he was forced to stay at home.
It all changed when he got a wheelchair six years ago, and today, at the age of 71, Teo is in the final throes of preparation for the Asean Para Games on home soil.
The grandfather will make his debut at the Games this week, partnering Asian Para Games champion Jovin Tan in the two-man Hansa 303 class event at the Marina Reservoir.
Teo is the oldest in the 157-strong home contingent for the Dec 3 to 9 biennial Games which Singapore is hosting for the first time.
Getting a wheelchair turned his whole life around.
Speaking to The New Paper recently after a training session at the People's Association's Passion Wave @ Marina Bay facility, the retiree, who used to work in the financial industry, revealed how he would wheel around at Bishan Park, near where he stays, or go to Ang Mo Kio and back to keep fit.
"I felt free after years of agony and I decided that I wanted to be more active," said Teo.
Seeking a bit of adventure, Teo picked up recreational sailing about three years ago at the Changi Sailing Club.
He said: "I've always liked the idea of being outdoors; I've tried tenpin bowling before, but it was too comfortable an environment for me.
"With sailing, you never know how the wind and the waves are, and I find joy in taking on that challenge.
"In a boat, you don't feel shackled; you feel free to do what you want."
For the father of two, and grandfather of one, the Para Games is the first time he will be doing battle in competitive sport.
He said: "When my family found out that I was going to take part in the Asean Para Games they were all excited, although they asked me if I was sure I could sail, because I am 71.
"I am paired with Jovin and we are working together well, even though he is a young veteran, and I am an old novice," he added, with a twinkle in his eye.
"It's about teamwork and communication on the boat."
Winning on home ground is his goal, but it will not be an obsession for Teo.
He said: "I wouldn't know how I'll feel when the Games finally comes around, because I've never done this before.
"We want to win, but that is not the most important thing.
"Rather, it's the experience of competing in front of a home crowd, and trying to fly the Singapore flag high."