This week, we also present to you our Female Athlete of the week, Kwa Huiqi, who led the team in the first match against Raffles in the Table Tennis Championship Finals.
Even though she was originally an RGS girl, Huiqi has successfully integrated into our Hwa Chong environment, and is proud to say that she is a true blue Hwa Chong paddler, and has Hwa Chong blood pulsating through her veins. We are definitely proud to have her in our big family!
Amidst her busy schedule of intensive training everyday, we are grateful to Huiqi for finding time in responding to our interview. A role model for all to follow in her footsteps, Huiqi is definitely an athlete worth noticing, for she has demonstrated her capabilities in juggling both competitive table tennis, as well as excelling in her academics. Well done Huiqi!
Besides representing Hwa Chong in table tennis competitions, Huiqi is also a national player, representing SINGAPORE in numerous competitions and has collated a whooping number of awards. Some of her more recent achievements are as follows:
National Table Tennis Championships: Women’s Singles 1st
SEA Junior Table Tennis Championships: U18 Girls’ Team Silver, Girls’ Singles Silver, Mixed Doubles Silver, Girls Doubles Bronze
Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships: U18 Girls’ Team 9th
World Junior Circuit India: Junior Girls’ Team and Doubles 3rd
Taipei International Junior Open: U18 Girls’ Team Silver, Girls Singles 5th
National Youth Top Ten Championships: U18 Singles 1st
National Interschools Individual Championships 2010: U20 Singles 1st
1. As the first player representing your team, how did you prepare yourself to face your toughest opponents, from Raffles Institution?
To be honest it required even more mental preparation than anything else cos I knew I was going to play with my old teammates from RGS and especially when the coach told me I would most probably be playing with their top player who also happened to be my best friend. Even though I’d played with her numerous times in local and overseas tournaments but this time I was really edgy! So I went back and watched a few videos of our past matches for preparation.
2. It was amazing watching you play and winning the points with your awesome skills and tactics! How did you read your opponent’s game and is there some sort of a “mantra” that you follow when playing against different opponents each time?
Haha thank you! I guess I know my opponent’s style of playing really well since I see her at training almost everyday and we train together. And in fact, she was my doubles partner at the SEA championships so we kinda know each other very well! I think for me, it takes the first game to find out where my opponent’s weakness is and for subsequent games just pit my strengths at those weaknesses. Haha I don’t, but I do have a habit of tying my right shoe lace then my left before a match for good luck.
3. Just to find out more about you, how long have you been playing table tennis and do you intend to continue with the sport after graduating from Hwa Chong? Why table tennis as your CCA?
I have been playing table tennis for ten years and I do wish to turn fully professional (HCunite shouts WOW!!!) after A levels. I was waiting for my elder sister’s training to end when her coach saw me picking ping pong balls really quickly and he thought I had potential so he told my mum to enrol me in!
4. Did you meet any setbacks during your years of training? (Physical, mental, etc) How did you overcome these stumbling blocks?
My biggest setback would be the lack of sleep and leisure time over the years cos I train almost everyday and I don’t get to go home until 10pm. And I’ve been sticking to this routine for a few years now so its kind of sad when I can’t go out with my friends and I have to try really hard to stay awake in class. In fact, I even missed my friend’s huangcheng debut this year cos I had training! But I guess these sacrifices are all worth it when you see the smile on the coaches and when you’ve done the country proud.
5. Do tell us more about your teammates and express anything you’d like to them! (:
I have a really funny group of JC2 teammates back at HCTT whom I am very thankful for cos without them Hwachong would have been so alien to me. Especially the J2 girls, Caipok, Yun and the fun-sized Chunkai for those great great memories! It has really been an honour to play with them, for them, and together with them.
6. Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring table tennis players?
Enjoy the game and hard work definitely pays off! (: