Come 14th August, the first-ever Youth Olympic Games will officially begin. Come 14th August, Singapore will make our mark as the first country to host the YOG. Come 14th August, our Singapore flag will fly high as our athletes endeavour to do our nation proud.
Hwa Chong is the school with the most number of state representatives in YOG 2010, and proudly so. Throughout this period, HCunite will bring to you exclusive interviews with our very own sportsmen who are representing the nation in the games, so check often for the latest interview with our sportsmen.
First up in this series is Caroline Chew of 09A14 who is representing Hwa Chong in Equestrian in the Show Jumping Individual category.
1. When did preparation for YOG begin? Any highs or lows thus far?
Preparation for the YOG began in earnest in 2008, when I found out that I had to switch disciplines from dressage, which was what I had been concentrating on, to show jumping, the YOG discipline. Having already been riding competitively for 6 years, including a trip to Thailand for the SEA Games 2007, this wasn’t as daunting as picking up a sport from scratch, but was still a challenge. However, I managed to make the change quickly enough to make the qualifying score for the YOG, a mammothilian task for me on top of studies and continuing my dressage career.
2. Equestrian is a fairly lesser-known sport. Want to bust any myths or inform us of how it goes? How did you get into equestrian?
The obvious one to refute is that equestrian/horse riding does not equate racing! That’s just one of the disciplines, albeit the most visible one. I got into it as a family sport, which progressed, at least for my sister and I, into a competitive one after about 4 years of riding for fun.
3. How have your friends, family and teachers helped you in this journey?
My tutors have been extremely good about letting me have time off to train and compete, particularly for long overseas trips, allowing for a flexible schedule which has been essential to preparations for the events. My parents, too, have not stopped backing me despite the huge commitment in terms of time and cost that has been put into this YOG effort. Of course emotionally and mentally, friends have been at the forefront of allowing me to keep my sanity through hard times.
4. Equestrian is not commonly played by Hwachongians. How does it feel not being able to share your love for equestrian with your school mates?
Of course there isn’t a direct link to horses for many of my peers, but the parallels found in sport as a whole are still a strong basis for comparison and common ground.
5. Do you have your own horse? If so, how do you and your partner mentally and physically prepare before each competition?
I do have a few horses, but the one I qualified for the YOG on is called Pikadeur. In terms of fitness, we train 6 times a week together, ranging from conditioning work to technical exercises aimed at improving our jumping skills. Pika is actually an extremely clever, experienced horse, which helps a lot in training and when competitions come around. However, I still spend a lot of time learning how to bring out the best performance, and how to make those split second decisions that inevitably arise in the competitions themselves.
With this, we conclude our interview:) You have the whole school behind you, Caroline. Give your all for your school, and for your nation. Jiayou!