Olympics: Mind over matter for Singapore windsurfer Amanda Ng
Windsurfer has gained much mental strength from overcoming adversity
National windsurfer Amanda Ng's second Olympic qualification may have been achieved amid much pain, but the 27-year-old has also gained much mental strength in the process.
Ng had slipped and injured her left knee just two days before the start of April's Mussanah Open Championships, which also acted as the Asian qualifiers for the Tokyo Games.
She could not even walk then and, while an X-ray at a hospital ruled out any broken bones, no scans were done. Hence, there was uncertainty over the nature of the injury.
Following a long-distance phone call to Dr Ben Tan, chief of sports medicine at Changi General Hospital and himself a former Olympic sailor, she was given the reassurance that she could still compete.
Tweaking her technique to avoid placing weight on her injured knee, Ng not only competed, but also topped the three-woman field in the RS:X class to secure her second successive Olympic appearance.
She had made her Games debut at Rio 2016 when she competed in the 470 class along with Jovina Choo.
Ng told The New Paper that the recent experience has moulded her into a stronger and more mature athlete, with the ability to forget bad performances and look ahead to new challenges.
"I have seen how grit and determination can make so much difference, from being unable to walk to eventually securing Olympic qualification," she said.
She credits her qualification to a good support system made up of her family, friends, church community and her coach, Alistair Masters.
"Knowing that I have so many people behind me has spurred me on to continue pushing hard in my training and knee recovery, and to give my all in Tokyo," she added.
She has seen significant improvement in her condition and has been undergoing rehabilitation for the injury - a medial collateral ligament tear.
Training in Weymouth, England, Ng has focused on getting the most out of training before heading to Tokyo.
"I am excited to take what I've learnt and improved on over the past few years to achieve my personal best at the Games," she said.
She is one of four sailors who will be flying Singapore's flag at the Tokyo Games.
The other three are debutants - Ryan Lo, who will be competing in the men's laser class and the 49er FX duo of Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low.
Besides taking precautions to ensure her safety amid the pandemic, Ng's second Olympic appearance will be challenging, not least because of her knee.
When asked about the difference this time around, she pointed to her knee recovery, adding that she has to be "sensible in how much to push myself in my training leading up to the Games to ensure that I am in the best shape".
But, with a stronger frame of mind, she is well-placed to overcome any more forms of adversity that come her way.