Disciplined and focused Sim in gold hunt

Disciplined and focused Sim in gold hunt
Taekwondo national captain Jason Tan, bronze medallist in 2009 and 2011, and poomsae exponent Chelsea Sim, silver medallist in 2013, will both be battling for gold on home ground.

Chelsea Sim's taekwondo career centres on one word - balance.

It defined her last SEA Games campaign in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, where she earned a silver after losing the women's poomsae final to the hosts' Yamin K. Khine in controversial fashion.

She recalled: "The routine in the final required a lot of balance. I thought I executed the routine well, while my rival wobbled quite a lot, but she still won the gold."

Rewind a year back to 2012, and her balancing of her sporting ambition and academic progress was called into question. The then-Meridian Junior College student was told by the principal that her grades had suffered owing to dividing time between studying and training for the 2013 Games.

"She suggested that I consider repeating a year of school, so I could focus on the Games that year and my exams the next," the 19-year-old said.

However, with the encouragement of her family and form teacher Christopher Chen, she opted for a double assault on the Games and A levels in the same year.

With renewed focus and determination, she managed two distinctions and earned a place at the Singapore Management University, while earning a Games silver.

"Some people told me it's impossible to balance studies with sports at a high level. I wanted to prove them wrong," she said. "There are sacrifices to be made, but if you have a good sense of discipline and keep focused on a goal in mind, it's definitely possible."

This time around, winning gold continues to drive Sim on, especially after she finished her examinations earlier this month.

With little distraction, she now trains twice a day: two hours in the afternoon, working with video analysis independently, then another two-hour session under national coach Wong Liang Ming.

She can take heart in some strong recent performances, which include a gold at the 2014 Commonwealth championships and a bronze at the 2015 US Open.

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