This week, we caught up with outstanding male athlete Leong Yunhao, captain of the Table Tennis Team, to find out more about his table tennis adventures throughout his years!
Those who were present at the Table Tennis Finals where Hwa Chong pitted their skills against Raffles could not forget the heartwrenching memory of the exciting match of Yunhao versus his Raffles opponent, with every point being so hard-earned, and the fighter spirit that Yunhao, as a captain, demonstrated not only as a role model to his team, but as an example to all who were present there too. So even though the last deciding match went to Raffles, Yunhao remains a hero of our school, and it’ll be hard to forget in a long time to come!
Having played table tennis for quite a couple of years, Yunhao has managed to accumulate many medals and trophies in his house. In recent years, some of the awards he received were:
2009 National Interschools A Div Table Tennis Championship (Individual) Boys Under 17 — 2nd position
2010 National Interschools A Div Table Tennis Championship (Individual) Boys Under 20 — 2nd position
2009 Asean Schools Games (Table Tennis Men’s Team) – First position
2009 Asean Schools Games (Table Tennis Men’s Doubles) – Third position
1. Everyone who witnessed the deciding match that day had their hearts in their mouths as they watched the match point-by-point. How did you maintain your composure and what were the thoughts in your mind as you played?
I wasn’t really thinking much about being composed at that point of time. All I could think of was winning the next point! But it’s quite funny to see what your opponent is doing under the same stress; everyone just shrinks and plays as defensively as they can haha! I guess it also helps when you’ve been through 8 years of nasty coaches placing you at the end of matches.
2. We heard that your siblings play table tennis too. Is your family the main reason why you are so passionate for the sport, and what keeps your passion burning? Any advice you’d like to give to fellow athletes out there?
Nope haha! My elder brother played squash and softball for HC; I was the first to pick up the sport, followed by my younger brother. I don’t even remember what got me started actually, but I guess what kept me going were my peer opponents. It was ridiculous how much they would improve every time I met them in a match, and that really gave me the motivation to train harder and best their new standard. Okay but in short I think I was passionate about it because I enjoyed it. To my fellow athletes, just go out there and enjoy your game! 🙂
3. As captain of the team, you have to possess good leadership skills and lead your team against other schools. How do you get your team to work together and prep them for their games?
Working together wasn’t much of a problem for us; most of us have been playing with each other for at least half a decade! Everyone in the team had the common desire to win. I guess all I had to do was to make sure they were motivated all the way. Like by saying ridiculously optimistic things at every single opportunity heh!
4. Even though Hwa Chong lost to Raffles, you were hailed as our hero for displaying such fantastic fighting spirit, refusing to give up all the way to the last point. Your teammates also gave their all in every match played. Can you take this opportunity to say a few workds to the school, as well as the brothers who played alongside you?
I would like to thank everybody who came down to support us during the finals! I think our team really felt that your cheering beat RJ’s cheering hands down! We didn’t manage to win in the end, but we will. Sooner rather than later. Shoutout to my classmates for staying back to support me and my 4e brothers for giving me moral support :).
As for my teammates, you guys are the biggest baddest badasses (thats a 7th degree badass! ) I’ve ever played with! I’ll never give up any one of you even if it means winning! 🙂
5. Last but not least, any prediction you’d like to make for Hwa Chong’s sporting scene in the next couple of years? (:
We’re gonna win 82372098390217590217389216389216381263821328768412 championships! Seriously though, continue fighting HC, we’ll only get bigger and better.
Next year, the paddlers will definitely be back, with the desire burning stronger than ever.