By Xener Gill
Training in a school team can be gruelling for most students, but some school athletes are not willing to just rest on their laurels. WIth a wide range of sporting activities in NTU, some of them venture beyond their main sport to join multiple teams.
Jacq of all sports
In her three years in NTU, final-year Nanyang Business School student Jacqueline Oo has competed in five different sports.
Currently a member of the NTU squash team, 22-year-old Oo used to be part of the NTU women’s basketball team as well. On top of her school team competitions, she has also represented her hall -— Hall of Residence 16 — in basketball, netball, squash, tennis and volleyball.
It was her performance in the Inter-Hall Games (IHG) in the 2016-17 season that led her to be recruited into the school’s squash team. That season, Hall 16’s squash team had been crowned champions.
This was despite her not having any prior competitive experience in squash before she entered university. She had first picked up the sport in Secondary One, and had always been a recreational player until she joined Hall 16’s squash team.
Oo decided to join the school team after IHG ended, as she did not want to stop playing the sport.
“I didn’t want to stop having organised trainings with fixed dates (after IHG). Having such training sessions helped me become more conscious about my time management since it’s a commitment,” said Oo. The team emerged third at the Singapore University Games (SUniG) last September.
But Oo’s pet sport has always been basketball. She started playing basketball competitively when she was 13 years old, and continued through junior college.
She joined the NTU women’s basketball team when she was in her second year, as some of her ex-teammates were on the team as well.
During her time on the basketball team, they emerged champions for the AY2016/17 Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Games.
However, she quit the team before the SUniG last September, as there were enough players.
During the two months when she was training with both the basketball and squash teams concurrently, Oo had to train almost every day.
While her studies were not affected, Oo said that it was tiring for her to juggle training for two school teams. But she did not have any intention to quit and continued to press on.
“I guess I just liked (playing) both sports. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to give up on,” said Oo.
However, her involvement in sports does not stop there.
Since her first year, Oo has been representing Hall 16 in basketball, netball and squash at the IHG. In the recent IHG season that ended in February, she also participated in volleyball and tennis despite not having any experience playing for them.
She also played basketball and captain’s ball at the Inter-School Games (ISG), which were held concurrently with the IHG.
On why she decided to pick up sports that she had no prior experience in, Oo said: “I only started playing tennis and volleyball because those sports lacked players, and my friends from the other sports that I already play asked me to join.”
She added that she decided to take part in more sports because she did not want to stay on campus without making significant contributions to her hall.
Once, Oo was even asked to participate in a softball game at the very last minute.
“I’ve never played softball before, but the team gathered an hour before the game to teach me how softball works and the basic catching and batting skills,” she said.
“I had fun, but I’m never going back,” she added. “Softball is too different from all the other sports I play and I don’t really have an interest in it either.”
Though training for the different sports can take up almost her entire week, especially when IHG season approaches, Oo feels that this is time well spent.
“I’ve always been a sporty person and university work is tough, so I want to be able to do something apart from studying in my free time,” she said.
“I really love being active and I enjoy all the sports that I do, which is why I still continue playing them even when I get busy and tired.”
The sports fanatic
Playing for 12 teams across nine different sports for IHG, ISG and IVP, Hall 8 resident Nicholas Teo is the epitome of a sports fanatic.
During his freshman year, Teo took part in sepak takraw, football, road relay, softball, touch rugby and water polo in the IHG.
“There was a girl I liked who was the team manager of a particular sport and so I decided to try something new and joined it. Slowly, I was asked to join other sports as well,” said Teo, a second-year student from Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI).
He added: “I only wanted to play soccer and touch rugby but I ended up trying everything and had a lot of fun.”
In the recent ISG, Teo also played for WKWSCI in touch rugby, frisbee and captain’s ball.
But he is not just an IHG and ISG athlete. Under the encouragement of his ISG touch rugby team mates, he joined the NTU rugby B team in February this year despite not having any background in rugby.
“I used to watch rugby with my father as a kid and found it interesting. There aren’t many places or schools that offer it so when I was given the chance I decided to go for it,” said Teo.
But as he came from a football background, Teo found it hard to adapt to the backward passes in rugby when he first picked it up. Being used to playing the game forward in football, he is still adjusting to the techniques required in this new sport.
However, Teo hopes to make it into the A team one day.
In addition to his rugby training, Teo also plays football for two other teams — Bazhang, a team made up of Teo and his friends, and Ang Mo Kio Bethesda, a team that plays in the church league in Singapore.
“Soccer is my main sport. I’ve played it since I was a kid and I don’t have any intention of stopping. I also don’t get to see my friends much so these sessions are good for bonding and to get in some exercise,” said Teo.
“I do get tired because I’m not superman. It gets worse as the week progresses but I soldier on,” he added. When competition season is ongoing in the first semester of the academic year, he has training every day.
Teo’s love for sports and competitive spirit is what keeps him going even when he gets tired out.
“It’s a great way to relieve stress and the feeling you get when you score or outrun someone is just priceless,” he said.
Despite participating in so many sports within his first two years at university, Teo has only won a silver and a gold medal for touch rugby and captain’s ball respectively in the recent ISG.
However, he maintains a positive outlook and does not let this deter him from continuing to pursue sports.
“Eventually I’ll win something, I hope. Besides, I do it (playing sports competitively) mostly for the experience,” said Teo.
Teo, who will be heading to Hong Kong for his exchange programme next semester, hopes to continue playing rugby during his stint if the situation permits.
He has also planned his exchange schedule around the next IHG.
Teo chose Hong Kong as his exchange destination due to its close proximity to Singapore, which would allow him to travel back to Singapore quicker for the IHG games.
Additionally, he also intends to stay on campus during his internship in the second semester of his third year to continue participating in hall sports.
“University is my last chance to do so many things before working life starts,” said Teo.
“It is the only time for you to try out new things so if not now, then when?” he added.