Singapore #FitFind of the Week: Water skiier Mark Leong

The women have their limelight in Monday's #Fitspo. Now it's the men's turn. The Yahoo #FitFind series is a new weekly feature every Wednesday dedicated to all fit men out there. Know of any who deserve to be featured? Hit me up on and on FacebookTwitter and Instagram (cheryltaysg).

SEA Games water skiing gold medallist Mark Leong. Photo: Cheryl Tay
SEA Games water skiing gold medallist Mark Leong. Photo: Cheryl Tay

Name: Mark Leong        
Age: 17
Height: 187cm
Weight: 73kg
Occupation: Full-time Athlete
Status: Attached
Diet: Loves meats, cheeses and eggs; avoids sodas and anything artificially flavoured.
Training: Skis three times a week (Currently in offseason), works out at Altitude Gym twice a week.

Have you been involved in water sports from a young age?
No, the first sport I played competitively was golf. I started playing golf in Primary 1 as my first Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) . Then when I got to Primary 5, I played Rugby as I was inspired by my father who played rugby in his university years.

So when did you get into water sports?
I was 10 years old when I was offered the chance to give wakeboarding a try. Since my parents had been waterskiing (a similar sport to wakeboarding) in their youth, I figured I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I always have been very curious and eager to try new sports out. I took to it immediately; Iiking the freedom and liberation one feels from executing a trick perfectly while wakeboarding.

Then when did you make the switch to waterskiing?
I made the switch to waterskiing when I was 13 years old, as my teammates and parents suggested that I should give slalom waterskiing a try due to my tall height as I went through puberty. Height generally works towards a slalom skier's advantage.

When was your first competition?
My first competition was in Putrajaya Malaysia for wakeboarding when I was 11. I did my best and managed to place on the podium, but my debutant performance was not good enough for a gold medal unfortunately.

SEA Games water skiing gold medallist Mark Leong. Photo: Cheryl Tay
SEA Games water skiing gold medallist Mark Leong. Photo: Cheryl Tay

This was your first SEA Games outing and you nailed a gold medal. Talk us through the entire SEA Games experience.
Right before the SEA Games, I was very excited and deeply motivated to improve my competition record. Just the night before the finals, I was apprehensive about getting sufficient rest due to the adrenaline rush, as this was the culmination of all my hard work over the past year. There was, of course, tremendous pressure the following morning when faced with such heavy competition, but one of the things that I really got to hone during this experience was to be collected and focused through stress.

What is fitness to you?
I believe fitness is more than physical well-being. I rely heavily on state of mind to harness the full capacity of my physical abilities. Philosophies like positivity, confidence and envisioning success before it happens; I believe that body and mind should work together to produce a holistic performance.

Fitness is more than breaking a sweat at the gym and looking aesthetically fit. I believe that fitness involves the mind to a large degree. A truly fit person possesses strength of mind, will and a healthy dose of passion.

What is it important to lead an active lifestyle?
Apart from the many benefits of being active (including preventing illness and diseases etc.), being active is a great way to meet new people and forge interpersonal bonds that I feel are also important for a rich and fulfilling life.

Are you satisfied with your body now?
I am to a large extent, but I am of the school of thought that there is always something one can do better. That is, contentment breeds complacency.

Did you ever feel not confident about your body before?
I used to be slightly underweight and this made me feel rather self-conscious, especially since societal beauty standards for men often involve bulkiness.

What kind of girl attracts you? Does she need to be active too?
I am very attracted to a girl who keeps fit, as I feel that not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it shows a great respect for oneself. Being fit keeps you social, mentally strong, healthy and shows a sense of drive and ambition. I also am very attracted to girls who are energetic, cheerful and kind.

SEA Games water skiing gold medallist Mark Leong. Photo: Cheryl Tay
SEA Games water skiing gold medallist Mark Leong. Photo: Cheryl Tay