NTU duo fired up for Asean University Games
Archer Ang and high jumper Tan aim to do NTU and Singapore proud
At first glance, Ang Han Teng and Tan Wei Jie are no different from your average undergraduates.
From Sunday to July 19, these Nanyang Technological University students will put aside their books and don their sporting gear in a bid to do Singapore proud at the 18th Asean University Games (AUG).
For the third time in the Games' history, and the first since 1994, the Republic will host the AUG, with NTU being one of four educational institutions among the nine Games venues.
Ang, an archer and a second-year sport science and management student, is no stranger to the AUG, having won an individual gold, as well as a silver and bronze in team events, in the last edition in 2014.
After recovering from a freak injury in January that saw him fracture the scaphoid bone in his left hand, the 23-year-old is ready to make a comeback.
"It's not so much about proving that I'm back but more of telling myself that the injury does not hinder me," Ang told The New Paper.
"The last time out, standing on the podium and listening to the national anthem was one of my proudest moments and it's a feeling you can't explain.
"I know the field will be quite strong, but I'm pretty confident I can achieve a result… I'll just do my best and see what that brings."
Although some may look at it as extra pressure, Ang believes having the local crowd cheering on the home athletes will spur him on.
He is used to the pressure-cooker atmosphere, having competed at last year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil.
"The last SEA Games was an experience like no other and I know what it's like to compete in front of a big crowd," said Ang, who finished seventh in the men's individual compound event, fourth in the men's team compound event and sixth in the mixed team compound event.
"That's difficult... Would it be too greedy to say both? ... As an athlete you have a certain expiry date so, for now, I hope to do well in sports and, once I retire, I hope to be a good doctor."
- National high-jumper Tan Wei Jie (above), who is studying medicine at NTU, when asked to choose between being a world-class high-jumper and a top doctor PHOTO: COURTESY OF NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
"Bringing that experience to the University Games will definitely help."
Another athlete looking to do both NTU and Singapore proud is high-jumper Tan, who is studying medicine.
His personal best of 2.04 metres is the highest a Singaporean jumper has managed since 2010. His mark would have been enough to see him claim a bronze medal at the last AUG.
For the 22-year-old, who joined the national team earlier this year, the Games not only present a chance for him to do well for the country, but is also an opportunity to raise the profile of one of track and field's less illustrious disciplines.
"I'm very much looking forward to the AUG because it's the first time it's held in Singapore after 22 years," said Tan.
"High jump is not the most popular event in athletics, so it's a good opportunity to promote it.
"Of course, I definitely feel proud to represent Singapore and I hope to get a medal."
It can be tough juggling studies and sports, but Tan revealed that the athletes' cause has been helped by NTU's curriculum, which sees them "attend" lectures through online videos.
When asked to choose between being a world-class high jumper and a top doctor, Tan was unable to decide.
"That's difficult... Would it be too greedy to say both?" he said with a hearty laugh.
"As an athlete, you have a certain expiry date so, for now, I hope to do well in sports and, once I retire, I hope to be a good doctor."