Five years ago, Clarence Chew experienced the magic of a boisterous home crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium when he competed at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
He loved feeling it and hearing it, for the adrenaline rush and the inspiration.
Now 19, the national table tennis player is relishing a return to the same arena where he enjoyed his breakout international tournament, when he represents Singapore at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games.
Chew was described by men's head coach Yang Chuanning as the de facto No. 2 in the team, behind world No. 15 Gao Ning, and the duo will be competing in all three events of the men's competition.
"The atmosphere will probably be the same but, this time, there will be more expectations because it's the SEA Games and we are the top country (in the sport)," said Chew, who will compete in the men's singles and team events, as well as the men's doubles with Chen Feng.
"I really liked that atmosphere in 2010, I am sure I will experience it again this year and, hopefully, it will spur us on to play ever better.
"This is the first time I am taking on three events and I want to repay STTA's (Singapore Table Tennis Association) faith by doing well in all of them."
Chew will be joined by his fellow YOG teammate Isabelle Li, who will be competing in the women's singles and team events.
"I really hope to give my best performance during the SEA Games, especially since we have the homeground advantage," said Li, 20, the women's singles silver medallist at both at the 2011 and 2013 SEA Games.
"I have more experience now, having competed in two SEA Games already... most times in competition my biggest opponent is myself, so the most important thing for me is to play to the best of my abilities."
This article was first published on May 21, 2015.
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