Singaporean ‘charity athlete’ couple compete to raise funds for good

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Most sportspersons seek sponsorships to further their competitive achievements. Not ‘”charity athletes Jonathan Ang, 24, and Jayve Goh, 21, who raise funds for an entirely different reason.

Charity athletes are defined as people who compete in sports events with an added purpose of fund raising.

And for the past year, Ang and Goh have been raising funds and awareness for their two adopted charities – the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) and the Handcycling Association of Singapore (HAS) – whenever they compete in marathons or triathlons.

To date, the two students have raised nearly S$4,000 and helped bring attention to the needs of the underprivileged members of their chosen beneficiaries.

Not just money

“We alternate between both charities when we compete in races. As charity athletes, it is not just about raising money, but also what we can do to help the cause,” said Goh, who started raising funds through sports like triathlons back in 2012.

“For example, we give out pledge cards to encourage people to go for free cancer screening and not avoid it. We also want to do our best to help the disabled athletes of HAS, who lack resources for equipment or competition in ParaGames.”

Ang added: “My father has tongue cancer, so I know how painful it can be for the family, with the treatment, operations, financial burdens and emotional stress. Thus, I can relate to what the SCS is doing.”

Both also volunteer every Saturday afternoon with the HAS, where they help keep members motivated in training, which serves as a form of rehabilitation for their physical disabilities.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ang and Jayve Goh
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ang and Jayve Goh

Greater purpose

Goh and Ang met through mutual friends two years ago and were thrilled to discover that they both shared the same passion in sports for a cause.

“When you are younger and playing for your school, all you think about is pushing for that medal, for that win,” said Ang as he shared an insight attained while voluntarily coaching a dragon boat team for youths at risk.

But then you start to realise that helping others while you are doing something you are passionate in, is actually more significant than individual glory.

Seeing the smiles on the faces of their beneficiaries motivates the couple to do more.

“Knowing that we have made a difference and touched others’ lives really warms our hearts and keeps us going. This is not for ourselves; not for self-glory,” said Goh.

Stronger together

Previously, when Goh was doing this on her own, she admitted to “feeling a little lonely”. But things have changed since she met Ang and they now draw inspiration from each other.

“We train together, compete together, and share the same goals. Having a partner gives you more drive to strive and it’s always more meaningful to do things with someone (other) than on your own, doubling the energy and motivation,” Ang explained.

“Jayve has brought a new meaning to racing for a cause and inspired me to become a better person. She has changed my lifestyle in a good way by involving me in more of these fulfilling events.”

The couple plan to continue raising funds for these two charities, even when they go abroad for their university studies at the end of this year.

And when they return to Singapore, it will be with a concrete initiative to groom the less fortunate into sports coaches, as a long-term career option for them.

Photo by Cheryl Tay
Photo by Cheryl Tay