Search
Close this search box.

SGT 1(NS) Ong Jung Yi sacrificed his spot at the Asian Games for a bigger goal. Here’s why.

SEA Games gold medallist Ong Jung Yi is going all out in his pursuit of his dream – to represent Singapore in the Olympics.

SEA Games gold medallist Ong Jung Yi is going all out in his pursuit of his dream – to represent Singapore in the Olympics.

TEXT: HOMETEAMNS

PHOTOS: ONG JUNG YI

Ong Jung Yi brought home the gold in the men’s 200m fly at the 2023 SEA Games and earned a spot at the Asian Games in Hangzhou. However, he made the difficult decision to forego the Asian Games in pursuit of a bigger goal – Olympic glory in Paris next year.

“I’m still more than a second off the qualifying time (for the Olympics) which, in elite swimming, is still quite a significant gap. To bridge this, my coach and I have reshaped our training approach.”

His training programme emphasises swimming at high intensity with short rests, focusing on maintaining both speed and form even when he’s tired. Sacrificing a guaranteed Asian Games spot in pursuit of a possible spot in the Olympics is a calculated risk that he feels is worth taking.

“Together with my coach, we’re fully committed and focused on shaving off those crucial seconds to meet the Olympic qualifying mark.”

“To represent Singapore at the Olympics would be the pinnacle of my journey. It symbolises the culmination of years of hard work, competing against the world’s best athletes, on the most prestigious stage in sports. It’s a dream I imagine every athlete carries deep within, and I share that aspiration.”

Despite the scale of the challenge, Jung Yi remains unfazed.

“Competitive swimming has taught me to face challenges head-on. This lesson isn’t just for the pool; it’s for life. Whether it’s in my studies, future job, or any personal goals, the same idea applies.”

SWIMMING MEETS NS TRAINING

Jung Yi completed his National Service (NS) stint, during which he served as a Staff Assistant at Police National Service Department (PNSD). His responsibilities included collating NSmen’s IPPT and marksmanship test data for the department.

He credits his unit for helping him balance his NS and swimming training commitments. “Intensive” could be best used to describe his training programme – eight intensive sessions per week beginning with a two-hour swim at 5.30am every day.

“After a quick refuel with breakfast, I’d head to my unit by 8am. I’m grateful to my unit and superiors whom understood my dual commitment. They allowed me to leave around 5pm, so I didn’t miss my evening sessions at the pool that started at 5.30pm.”

Whether it's adjusting to varying pool conditions or navigating unexpected events like a shift in race timings, my NS foundation ensured I was always ready to adapt.

Balancing multiple commitments made him a stronger competitor. Serving in PNSD meant he was constantly presented with changing scenarios, priorities and demands. This taught him the importance of being flexible and responsive.

This ability to think on his feet proved invaluable during the SEA Games. Competing against top swimmers from Southeast Asia, he had to strategise in real-time, adjusting his pacing and technique to maintain a competitive edge.

“Whether it’s adjusting to varying pool conditions or navigating unexpected events like a shift in race timings, my NS foundation ensured I was always ready to adapt.”

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE POOL

Jung Yi is currently studying for a Computer Science and Design Degree at the Singapore University of Technology and Design where the foundations laid during NS has made it easier for transition to academic work.

“Having wrapped up my first year, I reckon the discipline and time management I honed during National Service that has set the stage for this new challenge. The foundation I built during NS has taught me to prioritise and allocate time effectively to ensure I can stay on top of both my academic and swimming pursuits.”

While training for competitions has long been de regeur for Jung Yi, his training programme differs for local and international meets.

He typically trains for three major local and up to three international competitions annually. The objectives for each type of competition vary.

“Local meets are often seen as platforms for swimmers to refine their techniques and to secure spots for the upcoming international competitions. On the other hand, international competitions are all about delivering peak performance and contending for the top spots.

“Before every competition, we ensure that our prep aligns with these objectives, optimising our readiness and approach.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App, and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

Upcoming Events & Promotions

Check out the exclusive perks and benefits we have for our HomeTeamNS members in celebration of the inaugural Home Team Day 2024! Find out more here: https://www.hometeamns.sg/htd2024/
Promotions

FREE 1-Year HomeTeamNS Membership

Check out the exclusive perks and benefits we have for our HomeTeamNS members in celebration of the inaugural Home Team Day 2024!
15th March 2024
12:21 PM
NY, USA

Related Articles

When faced with a real-life bribe encounter, SC/CPL Hu Jiahao's sense of duty and professionalism remained unwavering.
LTC (NS) William Wong reflects on 40 years of total defence and what it means for Singapore.
CPT (NS) Chee Teng Shin reflects on his journey from a junior officer to a senior officer in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), illustrating the lessons in leadership that continue to guide him as an Operationally Ready National Serviceman.
ASP (NS) Lalithkumar Seenivasan believes in giving back to the community by safeguarding public security during his ICT deployments.

Upholding integrity in the line of duty

Total defence in every sense of the word

Raring to lead: From firefighter to inspirational leader

Why this Home Team NS man volunteered to patrol MRT stations on New Year’s Eve

Close Up

View all

In the Force

View all

Spotlight

View all

Club Buzz

View all

Singapore Buzz

View all

Food

View all

Family Time

View all

Technology

View all

Shape Up

View all

Travel

View all