Speed skater Trevor to take another gap year to achieve Olympic dream
National short-track speed skater, who is taking part in this month's Winter Youth Olympics, plans to train full-time in 2021 to qualify for Beijing Winter Games
National short-track speed skater Trevor Tan will be blazing a trail next week as one of Singapore's first youth Olympians in the winter sport.
But the 17-year-old's ambition goes further than competing at the Jan 9-22 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Singapore Sports School student, who took a year off his studies to train full-time in Busan, South Korea, also has his sights set on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
In Lausanne, Trevor will be one of Singapore's two speed-skating representatives along with Alyssa Pok.
Trevor, who holds the national men's Under-18 records in the short-track 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m, will be competing in the first two events. He hopes that the Winter YOG will be a stepping stone towards his greater dream.
"I was in the middle of training when I heard from my parents that I had qualified (for the Winter YOG)," he told The New Paper in a phone interview.
"It's going to be a great opportunity for me. My long-term goal to eventually qualify for Beijing."
Singapore was allocated a spot in the boys' event in Lausanne after some countries forfeited their places. The Republic was first on the waiting list following the boys' performance at last year's World Junior Championships in Montreal.
To determine who should represent the country, the speed skaters' combined scores at last year's national championships and the Asian Open trophy were taken into account, with Trevor emerging top.
"It was kind of unexpected," said Trevor, who will resume his studies as a Year 5 student of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at SSP this year.
"I am training hard to perform well and do my best in the competition. I hope to represent Singapore in more tournaments and continue towards my goal of qualifying for Beijing."
He is so bent on achieving his dream that he has decided to return to full-time training next year in a bid to qualify for the 2022 Winter Games.
"I plan to take a gap year in 2021 to prepare for the Beijing Olympics. I'm not sure where yet, but I will be training full-time abroad to prepare for qualification," he said.
The teenager, who was part of the men's 3,000m relay team that clinched gold at last month's SEA Games in Manila, confessed that training full-time in South Korea is tough.
He trains twice a day at Busan City Skating Union, except for weekends, when he trains once in the morning.
"I train from 5am to 8am, and from 4pm to 8.30pm. It's definitely tough training in Busan, but I'm used to the tough training at Goyang," he said, referring to his earlier stints with the Goyang Club in Gyeonggi.
"I really miss my family and friends, and Singapore food too, but I try to be professional.
"My parents encourage me not to give up especially when I'm at my lowest. Sometimes, I feel burned out but I'm motivated by my desire to do well in Lausanne, and eventually Beijing."
He is also motivated by his idol.
"I've always been inspired by Victor An, he's the best speed skater in the world and has a style I want to emulate," said Trevor, referring to the six-gold Olympic champion, who won three titles for South Korea in 2006 before taking up Russian citizenship and winning another three golds in 2014.
"My dream is to be world class, and compete with my idols."