Japan’s Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) has introduced various programmes and activities in conjunction with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to foster a clean sports environment and establish the integrity of sports and society.
One such program is the PLAY TRUE Torch Relay, under the Play True 2020, Sports for Tomorrow (SFT) project. This interview ‘relay’ has so far seen 16 athletes from around the world sharing their own definition of truth in sports and in relation to themselves. The program aims to encourage people to discover the intrinsic value of sport and to realise the truths these athletes find in their sport can also relate to the readers own values.
Athletes from around the world who have relayed their messages so far include those from South Africa, Nepal, Great Britain, Japan, and two of Singapore’s own national swimming youngsters, Jonathan Tan and Glen Lim.
In their joint interview, Jonathan and Glen spoke about what swimming means to them. Both having waded into the pool at a very young age, the two boys shared that swimming is more than just a sport to them. They’ve made friends, shared experiences and learned valuable lessons from their engagement in this sport. and it’s an experience that they are happy to continue learning from.
“I learn many things each day from my life as a swimmer. I have learned a spirit of self-determination, a spirit of perseverance, and a spirit of believing in my abilities,” said Jonathan.
Glen added, “as your talent grows, you encounter difficulties, but it is very important to take an attitude of continuing to work hard. At the same time, it is absolutely essential to take an attitude of having fun. If a sport were no longer fun, it would be meaningless to me.” This is a sentiment that Jonathan agrees with.
To these two young men, the pursuit of an Olympic medal is a passion, but the pursuit of passion can only remain fulfilling if the process is also fun. That is their truth.
On a slightly different point, the two swimmers also spoke on the future of sports overall, specifically in maintaining a level playing field. “I hope that there will be a situation that is fair for all athletes. In order to realize this, I think we need to relay the importance of clean sport to the next generation,” said Glen. “I think that if all athletes are competing with each other under the same conditions, this will push the athletes to achieve even higher levels and lead to the further development of sport,” added Jonathan.
Naming fellow swimmer Joseph Schooling – Singapore’s first Olympic medalist – as an inspiration, both Jonathan and Glen are training hard to qualify for the Olympics so that they can represent their country and walk in the footsteps (or swim in the channel) of their sporting idol.
You can read Jonathan Tan and Glen Lim’s full interview here on the Play True 2020 website.