Story by Sasha Christian/Red Sports
Fencer Lim Wei Wen, 28, added another achievement to his list in August 2013 when he placed in the top 64 at the 2013 Budapest World Championship.
Wei Wen is one of the 66 recipients of the Sports Excellence Scholarship (SpexScholarship).
We caught up with him to find out about how he picked up fencing – it’s a good story – and his dreams for the sport.
Sasha Christian: How did you get started in fencing?
Wei Wen: I started fencing as a CCA (co-curricular activity) when I was in ITE Balestier in 2005. Before that I wanted to join tennis as a CCA in ITE Balestier, but couldn’t as there wasn’t tennis in the school. Therefore the head of the CCA asked me to join fencing and I thought fencing was building fence. I completely didn’t know what fencing was all about and nearly rejected the offer until pictures of fencing was shown to me. So I decided to give fencing a try. That kickstarted my love for fencing.
What do you love about fencing?
Wei Wen: I love the endless and continuous learning. There will always be something to pick up or someone to learn from. For example, new tactics, new opponents, etc. Be it through sparring or competitions, the new knowledge I can acquire is always very stimulating and it inspires me to keep moving forward thus helping me achieve new milestones each time. The excitement and adrenaline rush I get never fail to ignite the fire within me, keeping the love and passion I have towards this sport and now my profession alive.
Were there any obstacles along the way? How did you overcome them?
Wei Wen: I injured my ankle before the 2011 SEA Games, and it came as a huge disappointment as sustaining this injury prevented me from unleashing my full potential. But well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And yes indeed, though physically I am slightly weakened, mentally I am not. Fencing is not just a test of one’s physical endurance, being strong up in the head is of utmost importance. I kept this notion close to me: “Pain is Temporary. Victory is Forever”, and this propelled me on to reach for my dream.
I understand you were working as a full-time personal trainer. How did you manage a full-time job with training?
Wei Wen: Yes I was a full-time personal trainer with Fitness First. Fortunately, my company Fitness First Singapore gave me tremendous amount of support for my fencing commitment by giving me a greater number of leave days for trainings and competitions.
There were struggles along the way, but I am very passionate about fencing. It is neither a need nor a want, it is a must. Fencing has been embedded into my life and almost akin to eating. It is something that occurs so naturally to me and definitely one that I will not do without. I will constantly remind myself to keep a positive mindset despite the exhaustion during work and training, focusing on my Olympic dream to keep me fighting on.
What does getting the SPEX scholarship mean to you?
Wei Wen: It makes my dream even more realistic. It does not seem as far-fetched as before. It is now within my reach. There is greater responsibility that comes with this, especially towards my country. I have all the support I need, thus I want to do my country proud, to carry the Singapore flag and see it soaring high up on the Olympic podium. This scholarship shows that doing sport has a future.
What are your fencing dreams?
Wei Wen: To obtain a medal in the Olympics. I want to pass on my knowledge to more people, and inspire people to fence; to take part in sports. I want everyone to know that sports is not just all physical. It has the potential to make a better person, changing an individual’s life, like how mine was changed. My dream is to encourage people to have a dream and not to be afraid to hold on to a dream.
What competitions do you have lined up next and what will you be aiming for?
Wei Wen: I hope to do well in Asia and world ranking competitions to qualify for the Asian Games 2014 in Korea, the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. I will definitely give my all and my best and will not disappoint anyone.
Wei Wen’s Achievements
2007 SEA Games – Silver (Individual)
2009 Commonwealth Fencing Championship – Silver (Individual)
2009 Hong Kong Open – Gold
2011 Asian Championship – 5th
2013 Budapest World Championship – Top 64