Grit and Determination Steer Paddling Success
SIT Hospitality Business graduate Daniel Koh (Class of 2021) tells how he clinched the team bronze medal with his teammates at the 2022 SEA Games
At the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games this year, SIT’s very own Hospitality Business graduate and kayaker Daniel Koh, together with his teammates, secured Singapore a team bronze medal in the men’s K4 500m heats. Having been relentless in his pursuit to seal a spot at the SEA Games since joining the national team in 2019, Daniel made numerous sacrifices before this victory, not to mention little sleep, long days, and lengthy commutes. Thrice a week, he would have to travel to morning trainings at Kallang before heading off for class at SIT@RP Building in Woodlands. His tight schedule and physical trainings saw his assignments and projects pile up incrementally, leading to shorter nights and much less sleep. “It was just really tough,” he spoke of those moments. “I cried myself to sleep on most weekdays and prayed (that) the next day would be better.”
Nonetheless, the single-minded determination of donning the Singapore flag on his chest kept him going. “I prayed a lot, ate a lot and slept a lot,” he recalled. “I’d sleep in between lessons or take naps on the trains and buses.” While sleep healed him physically, support from the university helped tremendously. His schoolmates would often check in on him, from asking about training to offering cups of coffee. They even arranged project meetings around his hectic schedule. “My SIT professors and friends were very supportive of me in chasing this dream,” and “credit goes to them for this success,” replied Daniel. For the Hospitality Business student who graduated last October, clinching that medal came as a moment of vindication after three strenuous years of juggling studies and sport. A goal that had been almost a decade in the making, winning at the SEA Games was “a dream come true” for him. And while he has secured his first SEA games medal in his debut, his competitive spirit still lives on.
Since graduation, Daniel has changed his mind from being a hotelier to a full-time athlete and part-time canoe coach. Citing “the competitiveness and adrenaline” from the events as a driving source of motivation, Daniel now feels ready to “do a lot more”. With his sights now set on bigger tournaments, such as the World Championships held in August, Daniel continues to rely on an invaluable trait he took away from his time spent at SIT and training – persistence.