Motivation from rejection

Motivation from rejection
Team Singapore divers Timothy Lee (left) and twin Mark (right) with their elder brother Nicholas. The twins account for three of Singapore's four diving medals at the SEA Games.

Two years ago, they were deemed not good enough to represent Singapore at the 2011 SEA Games.

On Monday, divers Timothy Lee and Myra Lee, together with Timothy's twin Mark, returned from Myanmar with their heads held high, after punching well above their weight to clinch four medals at the recently-concluded SEA Games.

It was a remarkable turnaround for the six-member contingent, all of whom picked up the sport only in 2009, when Singapore Diving launched its "Learn to Dive" programme.

Myra, 19, who sealed a bronze in the synchronised 3m springboard with partner Fong Kay Yian, said: "It was upsetting when we first found out we could not go to the SEA Games (in 2011).

"But you don't give up after one setback. "We worked extra hard after that, and we kept telling ourselves we had to make it."

Galvanised by that rejection, the national team kept plugging away, training six days a week for at least 30 hours.

The fruit of their labour started to pay off last year, when they bagged three silvers and three bronzes at the inaugural South-east Asia Swimming Championships.

Then, in August, Myra, Kay Yian, Timothy, Mark, Arizir Fong, and Kimberly Chan got the news they were all waiting for.

"Damien (Ler, team manager), added us in a text message group with the title 'You all made it to the SEA GAMES'," recalled Myra, a Singapore Management University social sciences undergraduate. "I was so happy, and it was sweet reward for all our hard work."

The team stepped up training, and embarked on a gruelling five-week training trip in Guangzhou last month.

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