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'I Fell in Love with the Idea of Sprinting Fast' : Lim Yao Peng

How a first school sports day experience inspired a lifelong journey in athletics for former national sprinter and Track Coach Lim Yao Peng


It was during a school sports day, when Lim Yao Peng was in primary three, that he

first sprinted competitively. The then nine-year-old Yao Peng stepped out onto the

rough red running track and took his place.

He looked down his assigned lane demarcated by the two meticulously painted

straight white lines to the other end of the track. Little did he know that was the

beginning of what would be a lifelong journey with sprinting.


“I fell in love, not so much because it was track and field, but the idea of sprinting

and sprinting fast,” said the now 34-year-old Yao Peng.

Following that fateful sports day, he was recruited into his primary school’s track and

field team as a Co-Curricular Activity, which only furthered his natural affinity with the sport.

Fun trainings and healthy competitiveness with friends filled his early

memories of sprinting with joy.


After a two-year hiatus while in lower secondary, the pull of sprinting drew him back

and Yao Peng returned to his running ways by joining a club outside of school.

“What I love is really optimising the human body and it just happened that sprinting is the vehicle where it’s the marriage of everything,” said Yao Peng. “There’s power,

yet it needs to be graceful. You need to be strong, yet not like powerlifters.”

The desire to explore how to optimize his full potential and to teach others to do the same led him in a single direction — to turn his hobby into a career.


In 2011 and 2017, Yao Peng represented Singapore at the Southeast Asian Games while he founded his company, MaxForm, in 2012 as a second-year student in university.

While representing the country, Yao Peng was faced with the reality that his career

as an athlete would be limited by the fact that the local sporting scene lacked a

professional league.

And he witnessed firsthand how this impacted many athletes in choosing not to pursue a professional career in sports.


His experiences as a national athlete formed the foundations for his coaching career.

“I want to improve the quality of Singapore’s sporting performance,” said Yao Peng.

“What I’m doing right now is: how can I use the speed and strength tools that I have

to help those that want to be better versions of themselves?”

In recent years, Yao Peng has trained an increasing number of youths ranging from

ages eight to eighteen, helping them develop not just physically but mentally as well.


“Someone told me that sport is a microcosm of life. As cliché as it is, sport teaches

us life lessons, and that is something I truly want to pull into my coaching

philosophy,” Yao Peng added.

Even though the ex-national athlete retired from competitive racing in 2018, Yao

Peng still trains himself. Instead of training to improve his personal performance

however, he does it to gain greater insight into how he can train other athletes and to discover new learning points to impart to his protégés.


While in the long term, Yao Peng looks forward to achieving financial freedom as a

coach, in the short-term, he hopes to tie in his personal and professional ambitions

of coaching on an international scale by growing MaxForm.

“I just hope within these two to three years, I can experience what it’s like to be an international coach and speaker. And let’s see where it takes me.”

#SportPlusSG #Features

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