Embodying the 'unbreakable' spirit
National fencer Lim didn't let his troubled childhood hinder his sporting ambitions
Irrepressible, inspirational and infallible.
Those who know national fencer Lim Wei Wen would recognise these qualities in the 30-year-old.
But the Asian Games 2014 individual epee bronze medallist wasn't always an unbreakable person.
His parents divorced when he was young, and he was brought up by his grandparents and aunts.
He quit school at the age of 15 to be a professional gamer, before taking his O levels as a private candidate and enrolling in ITE Balestier at 21.
On the sidelines of his training at the OCBC Arena yesterday, Lim said: "When I was young, I felt weak and I felt lonely. My family wasn't perfect and I hated my life.
"I was really tired of that life and wanted to get out of it.
"But it's a journey where I became stronger, day by day, month by month - it built me up to be unbreakable."
This indefatigable spirit of his is embodied in "Unbreakable", one of the 14 official songs of the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games, to be held here after 22 years from June 5 to 16.
The song, written by Amir Masoh and performed by Tabitha Nauser, is also one of the Games' theme songs, along with "Greatest" and "Ordinary".
The music video for "Unbreakable" was launched on YouTube earlier this month.
Words of encouragement and sound advice from mentors, such as his coach Sugumar D and former national coach Alexey Karpov, also helped Lim blossom into a medallist at major competitions such as the SEA Games 2007, where he won a silver and bronze, as well as the Incheon Asian Games last year.
These days, Lim has been paying it forward.
While he started out as a wide-eyed, carefree junior in the national team in 2006, he is now a senior in the squad: training, inspiring and caring for juniors such as Aloysius Low, who is making his SEA Games debut here in June, in the men's epee team event.
Aloysius, 16, said: "Wei Wen is totally focused during training but, once it's over, it's like he would flick a switch.
"We can talk about anything, even though there is a considerable age gap between us."
"I am very excited and happy to be selected for the SEA Games this year, on home ground no less," added the Anglo-Chinese School (International) student.
"There will be so many of my schoolmates, teachers, friends and family watching me, and I will definitely do my very best to make them, and my country proud. Also, I cannot let my teammates and seniors down."
"Wei Wen is totally focused during training but, once it's over, it's like he would flick a switch. We can talk about anything, even though there is a considerable age gap between us."
-- Fencer Aloysius Low, 16, on his teammate Lim Wei Wen, 30