Why I Play series: Curler Lionel Loh
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SINGAPORE — Singapore might be hot and sunny all year round, but that has not stopped Lionel Loh from picking up the winter sport of curling. He has even gone overseas to Estonia and Italy to compete in curling competitions.
Despite various challenges, he is currently trying to grow the curling community in Singapore together with the Equatorial Curling Club.
Q: How did you get involved in curling?
It all started after watching the 2014 Winter Olympics on television. I was curious about the sport and wanted to try it out. So, I contacted the Equatorial Curling Club and went down for their practice session. I fell in love with the sport immediately and since then, I have been playing with the club.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have of this sport?
I think most people do not understand why we have to sweep the ice and they find it silly and hilarious to watch. Sweeping, however, is an important part of the game as it allows the rock to travel further and straighter towards your target.
In playing this sport, what has been your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience was playing against the Olympic silver medallist team from Switzerland in a mixed doubles tournament held in Estonia. It was a huge honour playing against a world-class team, and my partner Sarah Cai and I were very pleased that we managed to score three points in that match.
Your most heartbreaking experience?
I was part of the Equatorial Curling Club men’s team that went to Italy to participate in a friendly tournament this year. During our last match, we were very close to winning but our opponents from the Czech Republic caught up in the last few ends and beat us eventually.
Share an inspiring story you have of a tournament or an experience with teammates that made you love this sport even more.
In that same tournament in Italy, my teammates and I would drink lots of beer and have great conversations with other teams after all our matches. It made me love the sport even more because I realised that in curling, it’s not just about competing but also creating meaningful friendships with our opponents.
Was there a time you felt like walking away from the sport? What made you stay?
There were many times I considered walking away because of the difficulty of organising practice sessions and being unable to train as much as I like. However, the hope that one day the situation might get better made me stay on and continue contributing to the sport. Also, once in a while, I miss the feeling of being on the ice and having fun with my teammates.
Have you sustained injuries while playing this sport? What was your worst injury experience?
Yes, I was training in Korea once and I accidentally fell and landed face-first on the ice. My face was bleeding and I ended up having cuts on my upper lips and around my forehead which required quite a few stitches.
What life lessons has this sport taught you?
It has taught me the importance of having a good communication skill. This is essential in curling as team members are required to discuss the best strategies to win the game. I find this skill transferrable in my working life where I have to find ways to communicate ideas across to my colleagues in a clear manner.
How can people get involved if they’re interested in this sport?
The Equatorial Curling Club organises curling sessions where we welcome people of all age and experience. Interested participants may contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell me in one sentence why you love this sport.
I enjoy the adrenaline when sliding down the ice, the excitement after making a successful shot, and most importantly, the friendships that I’ve made with curlers all around the world – this is why I curl.
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