He was told to go to his former workplace for a photo shoot.
But little did Lim Wei Wen, Singapore's first fencing medallist at the Asian Games, know what was in store at Fitness First Ang Mo Kio Hub yesterday.
His former colleagues had planned a surprise celebration for Lim, as a tribute to his bronze-medal win in the men's individual epee event in Incheon, South Korea, which ended earlier this month.
Said a visibly touched Lim, 29: "I was told that there was a new equipment in the jazz room but, instead, my ex-colleagues were there shouting, congratulating and throwing balloons at me.
"My knees started to shake. It was definitely a surprise for me."
The room was decorated with balloons, Singapore flags and photographs of him.
But that wasn't all. His family and girlfriend were there to celebrate the occasion with him as well.
Fitness First, which sponsors Lim, said that the planning began even before he returned from South Korea.
Sarah See, marketing manager of Fitness First, said: It was important for us to show support for our local athletes.
"We were really proud of Wei Wen when he won his bronze medal.
"We asked his girlfriend and family to join us, too. The planning took almost a month.
"Wei Wen has an emotional connection to this place, because this is where he used to train."
Brought up by his grandparents and aunts (his parents divorced when he was less than 10 years old), the 1.80m-tall athlete attributed his success in the sport to the financial and mental support from them.
And he took the opportunity to show his gratitude. He said: "My aunt (Chia Siew Li) supported me financially when I started fencing in 2006.
"It was her sacrifice which helped me to get into the national team.
"I think it's a beautiful achievement for her to witness how her nephew has shone in the sport, because of her support."
Asian Games bronze medallists receive $50,000 each under the Singapore National Olympic Council's Multi-Million Dollar Reward Programme - and surely Lim will use some of it to show his appreciation for all those who have supported him.
I think it's a beautiful achievement for her to witness how her nephew has shone in the sport, because of her support. - Singapore fencer Lim Wei Wen (above), a bronze medallist at the 2014 Asian Games, thanking his aunt for her support firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published on Oct 17, 2014.
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