All in the family for Idys
The Asean Schools Games table tennis captain's siblings play and train together
When she was just five years old, Idys Koh picked up table tennis after following her elder brothers Kyros and Leroy to their training.
As they got acquainted with the sport of bat and ball at the Singapore Table Tennis Association's zone training centre in Clementi, Idys discovered that she had a natural ball sense and a knack for the game.
She started competing at nine and later followed Kyros' footsteps in representing Singapore at the schools and youth level.
The Hwa Chong Institution student will be hoping to do the country proud again at the 11th Asean Schools Games (ASG) in Semarang, Indonesia, in the next few days.
Idys, 17, is among 170 student-athletes from 51 schools taking part in the Games, which kick off today and conclude next Thursday.
This is not her first appearance at the ASG. Last year, she also took part in the Games in Selangor, Malaysia, finishing third in the girls' doubles and was in the girls' team that finished second.
Overall, Singapore were the best of six nations with two gold, four silver and two bronze medals.
This year, as captain, she hopes to lead the 12-member team to be tops again.
"As captain, what I thought I had to do was bring the team together and bridge the gap between players and coaches," she said.
"But it's about being an ambassador to Singapore, a respectful sportswoman and (rallying) the team to have one another's backs.
"It's not just about winning but also how we represent ourselves to show that Singapore have a reputation to uphold."
Idys has been training twice with the ASG squad and also twice weekly with her school.
ASG girls' team coach Michaela Tam, 33, found Idys to be "fast and fierce in her attacks and strokes".
"Because of her experience, she has a mature playing style. I hope to see a good performance from her," she said.
Idys also self-trains, often with her brothers.
Her eldest brother Kyros, 23, has represented Singapore at the youth level and at the Asean and World Universiade Games.
Second brother Leroy, 21, plays table tennis for school, community clubs and competes in local tournaments. He also took up the shot put two years ago.
They influenced Idys and younger brother Manyong, 10, to pick up the sport and pursue it competitively.
Idys was invited to the national junior development squad when she was nine. She made her international debut at San Bao Bei, an invitational tournament in Hong Kong, in the Under-12 girls' team event two years later.
She then made it to the national youth team at 13 and competed in various competitions like the South East Asia Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships in Singapore in 2017, when she finished joint-third in both the cadet girls' team and girls' doubles events.
After that, she stopped playing at the elite level to concentrate on her studies.
"Academics were kicking in and I also wanted to explore different areas of (interests) like leadership community service," she said.
Still, she has racked up over 40 medals and trophies, the most recent being a team silver at the Schools National A Division meet in April.
Idys, who still aspires to be in the national senior team, said: "After playing for so long, I got attached to the sport. It's become a part of me and a habit.
"The youth and national teams are different levels. If the opportunity comes, there's nothing to wait for. I won't let it be a missed chance."