Dad is teen's triathlon buddy

Dad is teen's triathlon buddy

SINGAPORE - Over the last two years, hobbyist triathlete Carl Chan, 48, has watched with satisfaction his 16-year-old son Sean surpass him.

He is now 10 minutes behind Sean's best time of one hour for the sprint distance, comprising a 750m swim, 20km bike leg and 5km run. "The gap will only get wider," says Mr Chan, a business development head who started taking part in triathlons 10 years ago.

He introduced the sport to Sean and his younger brother, Marc, six years ago when they were aged nine and seven.

Sean, an Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student, went on to develop a passion for it and has represented Singapore in races.

Last month, Mr Chan and Sean became the first Singaporean father-son pair to take part in the International Triathlon Union World Championships in London, although they did not perform as well as they would like due to the "cold and rainy conditions".

Their athletic passion means they lead a disciplined lifestyle, waking up at 5am every day, even on family holidays, to train together or separately.

Mr Chan's wife, Madam Yap Ling Ling, 44, a quality assurance manager in the aviation industry, is not into sports, but she goes to most of their races to cheer them on.


Do you harbour ambitions for your two children?

Mr Chan: No, my wife and I have no desire for them to follow in our footsteps. They are free to choose whatever interests them, whether it's in sports, studies or, eventually, their careers.

Our hope is that they will discover their passion and calling in life, and pursue it with an energy and perseverance that makes it meaningful and rewarding for them.

I did not intentionally cultivate their interest in triathlon. Instead, we exposed them to a variety of sports, including tennis, golf and bowling. Eventually, Sean showed a preference for triathlon, while Marc is more into swimming.

Sean: My parents have always emphasised that I do the best that I can. That goes for both studies and sports. I do not have to come in first or be the top student. I just have to give my best and be happy with the outcome.

I am inspired by my father, who has finished six Ironmans (full triathlons), one on each continent.

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