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Chua's success a matter of focus

July 11, 2011 - 8:23pm

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 PHOTO: Kua Chee Siong

RAFFLES Institution's (RI) Chua Shao Shxuan was not always a dedicated athlete.

When he first started playing table tennis in Primary Two at Maris Stella High School, becoming a top paddler was far from Shao Shxuan's thoughts.

"I wouldn't pay attention to coaches and would play only one rally before I got distracted," the 14-year-old said.

"I wasted a lot of time running around, rather than being focused in training."

That's a far cry from where he is now.

The Secondary 2 student is a member of the national Under-21 youth team and aspires to be one of the country's top 10 paddlers.

So what was it which sparked such a change in him?

The turning moment for him came in Primary Three, when Shao Shxuan failed to make the cut for the Youth Development Squad for seven- to 10-year-olds.

"When I heard I had been called up for the trials, I was very happy because it was something I had wanted for a very long time," he said.

"I was devastated when I didn’t make it. That was when I decided to put in my full effort and train hard from then on."

Since then, Shao Shxuan has never neglected his training. A year later in Primary Four, he reached his goal of making it into the Youth Development Squad.

When The New Paper spoke to Shao Shxuan’s coaches and teachers, they all agreed that one of his defining characteristics is his full concentration in training.

Tan Chew Sern, RI's teacher-in-charge for table tennis said: “In the two years I have known Shao Shxuan, I have never seen him get distracted or frustrated no matter how bad things get.

Composure

"The composure he maintains at all times is a big motivating factor for the entire team."

Shao Shxuan trains up to eight times a week at the Singapore Sports School, on top of the regular table tennis training sessions at RI.

Despite his overwhelming training schedule, Shao Shxuan is also a member of RI's cross-country team, after he was introduced into the sport by a classmate.

Table tennis and cross-country may seem worlds apart, but this has not stopped Shao Shxuan from helping RI win the team gold medals in both sports at the Schools' National C Division this year.

It seems dividing his attention between two sports has not affected this young athlete's focus at all.

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