“Once I make up my mind, I won’t give up half way and won’t make a chance to feel regret!” With such a self-assured expression, Alumna Choi Sut Ian seemed to be saying that her undefeated spirit has developed through never ending self-challenges experienced when diving.
Keep Good Spirit, Enjoy Sports
Choi Sut Ian, who graduated from the University of Macau (UM) last year, was majoring in Journalism and Public Communication. It is very difficult to connect her with the word “athlete”, but she is actually the “Big Sister” of the Macau Diving Team. She is the first batch of athletes of the Macau Diving Training Program. She started to gain popularity when she won Runner-Up in Women’s 3-Meter Synchronized Springboard in the 5th East Asian Games with her team members. She also made Macau known to the world through the diving platform. In the past few years, Alumna Choi has represented Macau in the FINA World Championships, Diving World Cup, the Asian Age Group Swimming Championships, the Asian Cup and other competitions, and has achieved excellent scores. She had also won many awards such as a bronze medal in Women’s 3-Meter Individual Springboard in the 16th Asian Games 2010 and a bronze medal in Women’s 3-Meter Individual Springboard in the 6th East Asian 2013. Furthermore, she was also awarded the Commendation of Merit by the Macau SAR Government in 2010 and was one of the Top Ten Outstanding Macau Athletes in 2013. She was even awarded runner-up of the Star Award 2014 and was awarded top athletes by the Swimming Association of Macau, China this year.
Alumna Choi says she is delighted to be able to obtain recognition in the society and the support given by the government and the Swimming Association are indispensable. She points out that Macau’s amateur athletes are really lucky to receive government funding and also obtain the opportunity to go out to attend major events. Thus athletes should cherish current resources, focus on training to create excellent achievement, and win honors for Macau. While talking about the promotion of diving, she says that the diving team has achieved good results and has made this sport eye catching. When asked if she was under pressure to win medals, she admitted she was but participated with a normal heart. Also, she reminds herself, “If you are too serious on winning or losing, you may make mistakes even though you have fully grasped the moves. So I will keep telling myself in every game to dive as a show and enjoy it.” For the coming Asian Games 2014, Alumna Choi is very relaxed, as she does not have too many expectations on the ranking and wishes to cherish the experience of each game.
Persist Because of Passion
Alumna Choi has been very active since childhood. Besides swimming, she also learned gymnastics for two years and achieved good results. But due to the attraction to her idol Guo Jingjing while watching the worldwide diving competition on television, as well as the intension of Swimming Association to set up a diving team at the same time, she began to come into contact with diving. She bluntly says that it was a bit late to learn diving at the age of twelve, which she was how old she was at the time. However, the gymnastics training she had before enhanced her body’s flexibility and coordination, and she soon mastered some somersault skills of diving. Since diving just started in Macau at that time, there were insufficient facilities. Besides everyday training at the aquatic center, she often needed to travel to Guangzhou and Zhuhai on weekends for more rigorous training.
Until now, Alumni Choi still has to often shuffle between Macau and Guangzhou for training, but she doesn’t complain. She has always been demanding on herself as she continues to dive no matter if she is sick or injured. Because of her passion for diving, she has been doing it for more than twelve years. For a student who has to attend school and training at the same time, the pressure is massive. She admits that she was once on the verge of a breakdown. “The most impressive memory was in my third year when I was responsible for the internship publication ‘Communicator’ which coincided with the period of the game. Every day after training, I had to go back to the University to work on the design and layout until three to four o’clock in the morning. On the day of the game, I was in a really bad state. I had to rush back to university to do typesetting immediately after the game; I broke out in tears and nearly had a breakdown at that time.” These frustrations did not make her give up diving. On the contrary, she realized that no matter what difficulties and setbacks are encountered in life, we should never give up and we must pursue it to the end. It is an absolute affirmative for training, just as it is for studying.
Time Allocation is the Key for Balancing Diving and Career
Diving strengthened Alumna Choi’s personality. “If I had not participated in diving, I would not have had the opportunity to learn and gain so much. Compared with people of the same age, I might have sacrificed lots of happiness while growing up but I gained more than I lost. Besides getting to know a group of friends with a common interest, the effort I made corroborates with my experience, widens my heart and view, and makes me a wealthy soul.”
As a diving athlete, Alumna Choi has gone through most of her sports career. As a freshman of the society, she has just begun her career path. After graduation, Alumna Choi chose to join the UM family and return to her most familiar place to start a new chapter. These days, she has still managed to have a career along with diving and still devotes two to three hours to train after work every day. She admits that time management is much harder now compared to when she was a student. However, she believes if she is able to manage her time well, then she will be able to balance her work and diving. Between studying and work, Alumna Choi can still find the balance of maintaining physical training and set an impressive score for Macau in sports. This precisely defines the philosophy of a “whole-person education” which the University promotes. She believes that the development of hobbies not only benefit interpersonal development and growth, but also allow for exploration of one’s potential apart from his or her studies. It also helps one learn time management and application. In regards to the upcoming relocation of UM to the new campus, Alumna Choi shows great excitement towards it and believes that a new campus with optimized sports facilities could definitely enrich the campus life of students.