Singapore Sportstar Spotlight: On The Ice, He's On Fire
STORY: Ng Kai
21 October 2022
Say real, how many of us can ice skate without falling over, much less jump and spin across slippery ice?
Well, graceful Pagiel Sng (whose name has Hebrew origins) can do all that, and even win silverware in the top leagues. With his recent Gold at the inaugural SEA Open Figure Skating Trophy, the 18-year-old scored well enough to become the first Singaporean male to qualitfy for the esteemed ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.
We talk to Pagiel about his sporting axel-lence on the ice, what's on his skating Spotify playlist, and keeping his eyes on the 2026 Winter Olympics Prize.
How did you pick up skating, and what has kept you going?
I moved to Denmark when I was three, and started skating there when I saw my brothers skating. But since coming back to Singapore [10 years ago], I am the only one who has continued. For me, it's the freedom one has to express oneself through music.
Speaking of music, what tracks are on your Spotify playlists for skating? And how do you go about choosing a song for your routines?
My Spotify playlist for skating has a huge variety of genres, ranging from K-pop all the way to classical and rap. Though I mainly play K-pop during training, I listen to a different genre during competitions to focus better. [For competitions], we pick the song first, then choreograph a routine based on the song's meaning and story behind it.
The routine you flawlessly executed for the SEA Open Figure Skating Trophy 2022 was absolutely captivating - congrats! How difficult was the routine itself, and did you have to observe any special diet for the competition?
I think the routine I did during SEA Open Figure Skating Trophy 2022 was the most difficult routine I have done. And to be honest, I had not mastered it even during the training leading up to the competition.
I do not actually have any [special] diet. I just eat whatever I feel like in moderation, though I do not particularly eat junk food.
Skating has brought you all over the world. Do you enjoy travelling or is it just "part of the job"?
I really enjoy travelling as it allows me to explore new cultures and also meet many great athletes that I draw a lot of inspiration from. I think my favourite place I have travelled to has to be Lake Placid, New York. The view was amazing - the mountains and the river flowing through it. But the experience with my friends and international friends was also unforgettable.
Ok, random question: You count gaming as a hobby. What are your fav games, and any thoughts on becoming a gaming streamer if you ever get bored of skating?
I usually only play two games: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and World of Warships as I like history, so it gives me the chance to go back in time to the age of WWII and use the old warships.
I have considered [becoming a gaming streamer], but usually I just kind of lose interest every now and then, unlike with figure skating.
When will you be enlisting for national service, and how do you plan to balance your sports career with your NS commitments?
I will be enlisting only when I finish my diploma, which would be in 2025 or 2026/2027 if I extend my diploma (as I can extend it for a maximum of two years). Until then, I have not thought about what I’ll do, but ideally, [I'd like to] compete at the 2026 Winter Olympics, and then maybe slow down for NS but continue to train so I can resume after NS - if my body allows it.
What's next on your programme?
I’ll be training for the Asian Open in December, and then I'll have the Junior World Championships in February and Four Continents in March. I will also be aiming for the 2026 Milan Winter Olympics.