Chris’s Sports Achievements:
1st place, Match Racing, Asian Match Racing Championship, Malaysia, 2015
Gold Medal, Mens Match Racing, Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea, 2014
Bronze Medal, Mens Match Racing, Asian Sailing Championships, Langkawi, Malaysia, 2012
8th place, Match Racing, World University Match Racing Championships, Nice, France, 2012
5th place, Match Racing, World University Match Racing Championships, Crete, Greece, 2010
1st place, IRC 3 Class, RSYC Regatta, Singapore, 2010
1st place, J24 Class, Singapore Straits Regatta, Indonesia, 2010
3rd place, Match Racing, Indian Rim Asian University Games, Australia, 2009
1st place, Open and Sportsboat Class, Royal Langkawi International Regatta, Malaysia, 2009
Captain, SMU Sailing team, 2010 – 2011
1. How did you get started in sailing and how did you know it is the sport for you?
I got started in sailing at 7 years old when my mum saw a school holiday beginner program and thought it would be a good way to get me out of the house and be occupied during the holidays. I really enjoyed it and made lots of good friends. That was the main reason why I kept bugging her to sign me up for more lessons and I became hooked soon after.
2. We understand that you met your beautiful wife through sailing, so that’s clearly one big perk of sailing for you. What other ways did sailing make a big impact on your life?
Sailing helped me realise that every action you do has a consequence. You can’t blame anyone for something you did, except yourself. It forces you to take ownership of your actions. Once a race begins, your coach cannot tell you what to do, he can’t even communicate with you, so it’s up to you to decide on your own course. I think this encourages independence at a young age, which has helped me tremendously in everything I’ve set out to achieve. In general, sports also give you that determination to keep trying, which is really important in life!
3. I’m sure you will agree that having the right coach is essential to learn more about the sport. From your personal experiences, what qualities would you recommend in a coach?
The most important thing, especially for kids, is to make the training fun. Kids need to look forward to going for training, instead of dreading it. They will then be motivated to be better. The coaches which I thrived under were able to find creative ways to make training interesting; including gym sessions! Other qualities such as being encouraging, enthusiastic and passionate about the sport are also really important.
4. Were your parents supportive of you sailing? How can parents today play a role in helping to support and encourage their kids in achieving their sports goals?
My parents were very supportive of the sport, even when it meant that I would need to miss school at times. They firmly believed that a well-rounded upbringing was important. Some parents like to get very involved and that can be a double-edged sword. Kids need to learn to be independent and not to rely on their parents for everything.
I think the best support parents can give is to show that you care by reading up about the sport and attending their kid’s competitions when you can. Your kids will want to tell you about the things they learnt or the things they did. It is also important not to be too worried about results. Not all kids will shine at a young age, but a love of the sport and careful coaching will get them there.
5. Any secret advice for our aspiring young talents out there?
It’s not exactly secret, but it definitely cannot be mentioned enough – never give up! You may not be the best at day 1 or day 10 or day 100, but if you have the passion and the enthusiasm and you never let your head down, you will succeed!
The other advice is simple – it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices to be up there with the best. It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen by chance.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Chris. We wish you a smooth sail ahead in your future endeavors!