Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Jacky Ong
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Occupation: Athletics coach
Food: I don't follow a strict diet, but I believe that everything in moderation is possible.
Exercise: A typical week for me includes one to two speed workouts, one tempo workout and two easy/long runs.
What were your backgrounds in sport?
In primary and secondary school, I tried a variety of sports. I participated in basketball, badminton, and rugby (yes, I was in rugby the longest before getting into track).
Then I began running with my mother, who joined the New Balance Running Club in 2010, and I've been hooked ever since.
What are some of the highlights of your running career?
My highlights were not the race winning part, but rather, the memorable trips and races outside of Singapore, especially team competitions like the 100km Hong Kong The Great Relay. That is one of the top three favourite races in my life.
What are some of the challenges you faced while competing in running?
Time management is essential!. As a student athlete back then, I must constantly ensure that my studies do not suffer as a result of my training.
Also, as an extrovert, I enjoy hanging out with my friends after school. As a result, reminding myself to balance everything was a major challenge for me.
You are now an athletics coach. What made you decide to become a coach?
Throughout my running career, I had several coaches who taught me various things that I know I couldn't learn or experience in school.
They are without a doubt the reason why I believe coaches do more than just coach.
What do you like about being a coach? How do you hope to influence the next generation of runners?
The sense of accomplishment. Seeing your athletes mature as people and athletes reassures me that it was all worthwhile to enter this industry. I hope to inspire the next generation of athletes in the same way that my coaches have inspired me.
I hope they understand that participating in sports not only teaches them to be fit and fast, but also teaches them many valuable lessons that they cannot learn in school.
What are your fitness goals now? Any plans to continue competing?
Definitely. It's something that's always on my mind. But for the time being, I need more time to figure myself out in this industry.
I want to give my athletes the best experience possible and hopefully, bring out the best in them.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
In 2011, I had the worst running year of my life. I made a bad decision at the time and was publicly humiliated in front of my entire school. Following that, I changed schools and took a brief break from running as a result of the whole ordeal.
That was the lowest point in my life. I was anxious everywhere I went because people were gossiping about me in front of me whenever I went for a run at MacRitchie Reservoir.
But one thing I learned from that experience was to move on with my life. Slowly, I began to open up again and gain confidence in myself.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
I used to be a little skinnier, but after national service, I think I'm a little healthier. So, considering the amount of food I consume, I am satisfied haha.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
Most people think I'm too thin, but I think I'm in a happy and good shape.