Resetting mentally after a two year break from volleyball and competing again after four years, national beach volleyballer and personal trainer Ong Weiyu recounts her journey
Juggling between training as a national beach volleyball athlete and working as a personal trainer is no easy feat. PHOTO: DYAN TJHIA & THE LOFT GYM
National beach volleyball player Ong Weiyu’s first encounter with volleyball was completely accidental, or some could also call it fate.
Ong enrolled into her secondary school through the Direct School Admission (DSA) programme under the impression that it was for Netball, the sport she played in primary school. It was only when the teacher-in-charge of volleyball came looking for her did she realise that she was in a different sport.
Ong Wei Yu in action for Singapore at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. PHOTO VIA ONG WEI YU
Fast forward 15 years, Ong represents Singapore in beach volleyball and has even competed in major games such as the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and the Southeast Asian Games in 2022.
“I have no regrets! I love my team and have made really close friends through volleyball,” she reflected.
How does someone become a national beach volleyball player in Singapore?
Ong Wei Yu (right) celebrates a point with then team mate Lau Ee Shan at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. PHOTO VIA ONG WEI YU
Ong shared that in Singapore, beach volleyball players on the national team likely start out as indoor volleyball players. She was scouted by a beach volleyball coach when she graduated from secondary school and it was then that she began to be more exposed to higher levels of competitions internationally.
She recounted being able to travel to new countries and places as one of the highlights of her journey so far as a volleyball player.
She recently returned from the SEA Games in Vietnam, prior to which she also travelled to her first tournament overseas after a four year hiatus for the Asian Qualifier Beach Volleyball Tournament, held in Sri Lanka.
Ong Wei Yu and teammate Eliza Chong finished in second position for the Commonwealth Games qualifiers in Sri Lanka in 2022. PHOTO VIA ONG WEI YU
Attaining first place in that competition would have meant qualifying for the Commonwealth Games taking place later this year.
On top of having to overcome pre-competition nerves from not competing in so long, just two weeks before the tournament, Ong and her partner Eliza Chong also came down with COVID-19. Although they recovered in time and could play, it was still a challenge for them.
“We were still having phlegm and coughing during the competition. It was sometimes a struggle to breathe during the matches in the morning when the sun was out. We also felt more out of breath after each game.”
The beach volleyball national team departing for international competition. PHOTO VIA ONG WEI YU
However, Ong and her partner still gave the best they could in spite of the circumstances and put up a commendable performance. They came in second place at the tournament.
She also competed again in April before heading off for the SEA Games in May representing Singapore in beach volleyball. It was Ong’s first time competing at the SEA Games.
“I guess my final goal as an athlete was to compete at the SEA games and I am happy to have done that! We would have wanted better results, but at the end of the day I am just grateful to have been able to represent my country.”
Ong Wei Yu's life as a personal trainer, after she made the transition in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO: THE LOFT GYM
Life as a Personal Trainer
At the start of the pandemic, Ong left her job as an air stewardess and ventured into the sporting industry, starting out at Sport Singapore. A short internship stint at Grityard then inspired her to sign up for a personal training (PT) certification as a birthday present to herself.
Before embarking on her current job as a PT, she also worked as a volleyball coach at Revollve Volleyball Academy almost every Sunday. As an athlete and trainer, Ong’s schedule is packed 7 days a week.
She conducts her PT sessions at Meta Performance and enjoys interacting with people and seeing the changes she can make to the lives of others through fitness.
“As a trainer, I wish to build confidence in individuals through fitness, especially women. I often hear from my clients that they feel out of place in a gym and that some machines scare them. I have felt that way before too.”
Ong aims to slowly eliminate this notion through consistent training and hopefully in the long run encourage more women to take up gym memberships and build their confidence.