Earlier this month, Singaporean Clement Chow Sheng Ren was one of the two male triathletes to successfully qualify for the South East Asian (SEA) Games’ Triathlon – which will take place in June. He will be up against fellow Singaporean, Wille Loo Chuan Rong.
On his SEA Games’ qualification, Chow, a 26-year-old student doing a Masters Degree in Professional Accountancy at the Singapore Management University, said, “I definitely wanted to qualify for the SEA Games. But that was not my focus in the weeks and months leading up to the race (for qualification). My focus was getting myself in the best shape possible and enjoying the process. I knew my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, so I realised I had to excute a smart race to qualify.”
Home soil will give Singaporeans an advantage
Chow feels that the 2015 SEA Games’ triathlon, which will be taking place at Singapore’s East Coast Park, will definitely give the Singaporeans an advantage, because it is a place that they are all quite familiar with. I also hope that the cheers and support from friends and family on race day, will give us the edge.”
But that said, Chow remains modest about his chances at winning a medal for Singapore at the regional competition – which will be taking place on home soil for the first time since 1993. Said Chow, “With the triathlon, it is almost impossible to guarantee a medal. Leading up to the SEA Games, I just want to get into the best shape of my life, and enjoy the experience.”
Came from a swimming background
Chow has a swimming background, having been doing this sport both in primary and secondary school. “But when my interest in swimming waned, I felt that triathlon was a logical progression, given my background in swimming,” he added. However, he admitted that triathlon training at the elite level can be very time consuming though, because of the requirements of successfully juggling three different sports at the same time.
Introduction to triathlon was no piece of cake for him
On his introduction to triathlon, Chow said that it was not a piece of cake. In fact, it was a very harsh awakening for the former swimmer. “For my first ever triathlon, I had no idea what to expect from it – and was totally unprepared. I finished second to last in that race, but it has motivated me to work harder and to constantly improve as a triathlete,” he added.
And on his triathlon journey, Chow has definitely improved by leaps and bounds, but admitted that he has sustained some rather serious injuries along the way, especially from cycling. He said, “I have had broken bones due to bike crashes, lower back injuries resulting in protruding disks and the nerve roots getting impinged. Injuries are a part and parcel of an athlete’s life though, so I have accepted them as part of the package to becoming a national triathlete.”
He admitted that the cycling leg too, is usually the hardest part of a triathlon for him. “There is the stress of my equipment failing and being involved in an accident,” Chow explained.
But he will refuse to let any of these problems weigh him down when he represents Singapore on home soil. “Come June, I hope to be in the thick of the action at the SEA Games, trying to win a medal for Singapore. And I want triathlon to be a regular part of my lifestyle in the long term,” Chow added.
Some Tips for aspiring triathletes
What are some tips from Chow, for aspiring triathletes. He said, “Consistency is key and fitness cannot be rushed. You can’t expect to become good at it overnight.”
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