Team Singapore Represent: A Glow-Up Gallery Of Our Olympic Hopefuls

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Team Singapore Glow-Up: Guess Who These Olympic Hopefuls Are

STORY: Farhan Shafie
25 July 2021
Can you identify the kid that grew up to be one of Singapore's flag bearers at the Tokyo Olympic Games? | Photos (clockwise from top left): Instagram/@quahtingwen, @lohkeanyew, @syah.alim, @josephschooling, @adeletqx and @tohweisoong

The Tokyo Olympics is finally upon us. With it comes a batch of young athletes hoping to etch their names into the history books and bring sporting glory to our nation.

They've been training their whole life for this moment, putting in the long hours in the gym, pool or on the track. And with the blood, sweat and tears has also come a glow-up that we're more than happy to witness and celebrate.

Inspired by a post on @sgolympics, the official Instagram of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), we went to kaypoh some other sport stars' IG accounts to check out how they too have blossomed:

(Swipe the images above to see the other two glow-ups.)

Jonathan Chan | Diving

Known as "Singapore's golden boy of diving", Jonathan Chan is the first diver from Singapore to ever qualify for the Olympic Games.

Fun fact: The 24-year-old poster boy for the sport started out as a gymnast but, in 2010, made a shift to diving.

He scored his first medal (bronze) in the 10m platform at the SEA Games in Singapore in 2015, and another two bronze medals (in the individual and synchronised events, respectively) in Malaysia two years later.

Caroline Chew | Equestrian

National equestrienne Caroline Chew will become the first Singaporean to compete in her sport at the Olympics.

Little did she know in 2010, when she walked out onto the Marina Bay floating platform to take a 53-word oath for the athletes at the Youth Olympic Games, that she would go on to compete on the European circuit and even the highest level of competition in equestrian - the Grand Prix.

Alongside her horse, Tribiani (yes, of Joey from "Friends" fame), she is now looking to make history in Tokyo.

Clarence Chew | Table Tennis

In a sport that has achieved much glory for Singapore, Clarence Chew is forging his own path. He will be the first Singapore-born male table tennis player to qualify for the men's singles competition at the Olympics.

He even beat fellow countrymen Koen Pang, the SEA Games champion, in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Doha earlier this year to qualify. He hopes that his performance will inspire the next generation of athletes to continue working hard and aspire for success.

Quah Ting Wen | Swimming

When it comes to the Oympics, 28-year-old Quah Ting Wen is already a veteran at this point. The national swimmer will be making her third appearance at the Games, having represented Singapore in Rio 2016 and Beijing 2008.

After a longer-than-usual swim season due to the COVID-19 situation, Ting Wen secured her Games spot through universality rules as the highest-ranked athlete based upon the FINA (International Swimming Federation) Points Table.

Back in 2006, she was just a fresh-faced young athlete taking a photo op with South African swim star Roland Schoeman. But as fate would have it, Ting Wen would work together with the legend 11 years later as part of a training stint.

Now, she is gunning for her first-ever medal at the Games.

Loh Kean Yew | Badminton

Can we just gush for a bit over how adorable shuttler Loh Kean Yew looks as a 12-year-old? These days, he's giving us more oppa vibes and the now 24-year-old wants to make history by achieving a podium finish for badminton at the Olympics.

His most notable accomplishment to date: beating China's two-time Olympic champion and former world No. 1 Lin Dan at the 2019 Thailand Masters finals.

He will be making his maiden Olympics debut at the Tokyo Games. Last Friday (23 Jul), he was one of Singapore's Flag Bearers at the Opening Ceremony. What an honour!

Nur Syahidah Alim | Para Archery (top left in group photo)

Being born with a type of cerebral palsy that affects the lower limbs didn't stop Nur Syahidah Alim from making history in 2020 when she became the first Singaporean to become a world champion in the sport of para-archery.

The 35-year-old was named Sportswoman of the Year at the 2020 Singapore Disability Sports Awards for her achievements.

She's now going for gold at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which is set to start a few weeks after the Olympics.

Joseph Schooling | Swimming

Not many people can say they met their sporting heroes as a kid, then competed against them as an adult - and won. But Singapore's most recognisable sportsman and first-ever Olympic gold winner Joseph Schooling can lay claim to those bragging rights.

Having met his swimming idol Michael Phelps as a 13-year-old, Schooling bested the legend 8 years later at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

He will be defending his 100m butterfly title at Tokyo as the main man now, and we can't wait to watch our very own swimming superstar do it.

Adele Tan | Shooting

It's been a long road to qualify, having spent almost one and a half years (because of the COVID-19 sitch) in a gruelling selection process, but 22-year-old Adele Tan will finally be representing Singapore in women's 10m air rifle.

The National University of Singapore Psychology major also had to balance her studies with her training - a common challenge for most of our athletes.

Adele credits her family and friends for getting her through the process, writing in a heartwarming IG post: "Thank you to my dear friends and loved ones for your encouragement and love. To be frank, all the support I’ve received means so much and I can’t deny how much of a morale booster it is!" 

Over the weekend, Adele finished in 21st position for the Women's 10m Air Rifle Qualification.

Muhammad Diroy Noordin | Para Javelin & Shot Put (second from right in group photo)

Despite his small stature, Muhammad Diroy is a giant in the arena of his chosen sport.

The 29-year-old was named the 2019 Sportsman of the Year at the Singapore Disability Sports Awards for his achievements in shot put and javelin. He also competed in the previous Games in Rio, finishing 9th.

This year, he has been given the honour of being our country's flag bearer at the Tokyo Paralympics, and is looking forward to improving his previous performance at the Games.

Toh Wei Soong | Para Swimmer

What a dream come true for this 22-year-old swimmer. Having won Singapore's first para-swimming medal - a bronze at the Commonwealth Games - the Paralympics debutant is looking forward to going one lap further in Tokyo.

Wei Soong opened up about his sporting journey with a heartfelt IG post, writing: “This has been a journey eight years in the making and to be able to make my debut at the Paralympic Games is a dream come true. All the blood, sweat and tears have finally paid off. I would like to dedicate this to my family, my friends, my coaches, and to the sports organisations who have helped me for years as well as everyone else who has supported me along the way. I want to do my best for Singapore and hopefully inspire others to start their own impossible.”

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TAGS: Tokyo 2020 , Sports , Sportstar Spotlight , Exceptional People
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