National rower Joan Poh, who is aiming to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has been given a massive boost by the Chiam See Tong Sports Fund (CSTSF) as the Fund earlier today (22 Oct) announced that the 28-year-old has become its latest beneficiary.
Ms Poh, a registered nurse in an acute kidney dialysis unit, has taken some time off from her nursing work to train as she attempts to quality for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She is currently in Canada as part of a training stint.
Having no teammates and without any available coaching in Singapore, Ms Poh is reportedly on a no-pay leave as she trains in Canada. Besides that, she is also funding her own training and coaching requirements, including purchase of all her personal equipment.
Having come from a lower-income family and little funding, Ms Poh has depended largely on her own savings and her friends for loans in order to pay for her training and coaching sessions, including the competition equipment.
What’s more, over the last three years, she has juggled part-time training with a full-time nursing career, intermittently taking leave from work to fulfill her training requirements. Recently, she has set up a crowdfunding page to fund her last leg of journey towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Qualification stage.
Now, with the help of the CSTSF, a grant of S$3000 by the Fund will assist her in managing the costs of trying to qualify for the Olympics 2020 where she can pursue her dream of competing at the glamorous world stage.
“Joan has shown us that she has the drive and the determination to succeed. It is our honour to assist her in her journey to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Joan always shares how she deeply appreciates every bit of kindness she has received on this journey, and how she sees being able to chase a dream as a privilege – a responsibility she takes on very seriously. We are pleased to support her in her endeavours,” said Ang Peng Siong, Chairman of the Board of the CSTSF.
Having bagged a bronze medalist at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, Ms Poh will be racing at the Qualification Regatta in April 2020 to help her qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo.
She also came in 9th at the last Asian Games in Jakarta. The top five women scullers from Asia will be decided during the Asia Continental Qualification in end April 2020.
“I am thankful and grateful for the help provided by the Chiam See Tong Sports Fund. It is my duty to pay it forward,” noted Ms Poh.
When asked what keeps her going despite repeated obstacles and curve balls thrown at her, she said, “I have always had a deep desire to fly the Singapore flag at the Olympics, and the hopes to trailblaze for the ones who come from less privileged, resourced, turbulent childhood, like myself.”
“I hope to inspire others to always follow their dreams, and thank everyone who has been supportive of my journey,’ she added.