Fast approaching 30, swimmer Pang Sheng Jun goes into next month's Hanoi SEA Games with no expectations, choosing instead to enjoy the journey
Singapore swimmer Pang Sheng Jun trains at the competition pool of the OCBC Aquatic Centre, Singapore Sports Hub. PHOTO: SPORTPLUS.SG
He almost quit swimming last year when he failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, but national shuttler Yeo Jia Min's Olympic qualification inspired him to continue.
The two have been dating since September 2020, and are widely considered as a high profile athlete couple in the sporting fraternity.
Watch our full video interview with Pang Sheng Jun on Studio Plus here.
In fact, Yeo's influence has been a big reason why Pang is still swimming today, as he prepares for next month's 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
"She asked me if I feel I had fulfilled my potential as an athlete," shared Pang in reference to a chat he had with Yeo.
Singapore swimmer Pang Sheng Jun takes a breather in the OCBC Aquatic Centre competition pool at Singapore Sports Hub. PHOTO: JOHN YEONG, SPORTPLUS.SG
"I felt I still had a good race in me, so she asked 'why not just continue?'"
As a seasoned swimmer for the Southeast Asian Games, next month's showpiece, the first since the 2019 edition in the Philippines, would be the seventh time Pang competes at the regional Games.
Pang Sheng Jun in gym training at the Singapore Sports Institute, Sport Singapore. PHOTO: GENE LECK, SPORTPLUS.SG
The 30 year-old is grateful for what swimming has given him and the opportunity to still be part of the SEA Games squad.
He hopes to pass on his knowledge and experience to the younger swimmers who are breaking through.
Behind-the-scenes with Singapore swimmer Pang Sheng Jun, while filming one of 100 TikTok videos as part of the TikTok x SportPlus.sg SEA Games series. PHOTO: SPORTPLUS.SG
"I still remember my first SEA Games when I was one of the more junior athletes and I had good seniors to guide me along," he said.
"I hope to also be able to guide the junior swimmers."
Singapore swimmer Pang Sheng Jun gets ready to enter the competition pool OCBC Aquatic Centre, Singapore Sports Hub. PHOTO: JOHN YEONG, SPORTPLUS.SG
When asked what can Team Singapore fans and supporters expect from him at the upcoming SEA Games, Pang reflected on how his mindset has changed over the years as an athlete.
Pang said with a chuckle: "I don't really have much expectations now that I'm turning 30. Mostly it's enjoying every moment, enjoying the process."
An underwater shot of Singapore swimmer Pang Sheng Jun before push off in the competition pool of the OCBC Aquatic Centre, Singapore Sports Hub. PHOTO: SPORTPLUS.SG
"I'm just grateful to be part of the SEA Games team. I am also grateful to my parents, because they have never once told me to quit, because they know that I love swimming a lot and I'm still enjoying it."
The 31st Southeast Asian Games will be taking place from 12 - 23 May 2022 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
SportPlus.sg is pleased to join hands with TikTok, the world's fastest growing social media platform, to shine the spotlight on the journeys of 10 of Singapore's SEA Games athletes in this 8-part series, and assist athletes with TikTok content creation to amplify their online presence for the Games.
Special thanks to Team Singapore, Singapore Athletics, Singapore Badminton Association, Basketball Association of Singapore, Football Association of Singapore, Singapore Silat Federation, Singapore Swimming, Volleyball Association of Singapore, Singapore Underwater Federation, ActiveSG Sport Centres and Chinese Swimming Club for supporting this series.