Team Singapore

Young ones driven to work even harder

When Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean met some of the award nominees before last night's Singapore Sports Awards, he was given an insight into what makes a high-level athlete.

World billiards champion Peter Gilchrist, who went on to win the Sportsman of the Year award, told him that an athlete needs to clock in 10,000 hours of practice over four years to be great in his sport.

Taking in the advice were teenagers Alfian Juma'en and Jaris Goh, both Sportsboy of the Year nominees.

Bowler Goh, who went on to pick up the award, said: "I didn't know you had to clock so much time training, until today.

"It's really interesting to know and it's something I'll look up and read up more on when I get home."

The 19-year-old, who won three medals at the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships last year, added that winning the Sportsboy of the Year award was a motivation for him "to work even harder", especially with the South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil next year.


Silat exponent Alfian, who won a shock gold medal in the men's class F at last December's SEA Games, was in awe of the passion with which Gilchrist explained the coaching theory to DPM Teo.

"It seems like all he (Gilchrist) thinks about is sport, even when making small talk," said the 18-year-old Ngee Ann Polytechnic student with a grin.

"That's why he's a world champion."

Sportsgirl of the Year winner, equestrian athlete Janine Khoo, meanwhile, says her win was sweet considering the sacrifices she has had to make for her sport.

Janine, 16, follows in the footsteps of her father, former swimmer Khoo Teng Cheong, who was Sportsboy of the Year in 1978 and 1979.

She said: "Whatever free time I have, I spend it on training.

"In the two years I've been in the national team, I rarely have had free time so I don't really go out or hang out.

"The hard work has definitely paid off and I've gained a lot of encouragement and gratification from this win, but winning this award is not the end of the hard work.

"I'll definitely have to work harder to do well in international shows and also at the SEA Games next year." 
- Additional reporting by DAVID LEE