APG2015: Living The Dream Of A Paralympian

By Charity Chan

Photo Credit: Nurulasyiqah

Who would have thought that an ordinary encounter with Boccia through a fund-raising event for a school project, would bring about Singapore’s first Boccia Paralympian, who is genuinely passionate about the sport as well as the community over at Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore). 

The 30-year-old Boccia athlete who was born with spinal muscular atrophy has played the sport for over a decade and is currently preparing for the upcoming APG 2015, hoping to retain her title as champion for both individual and pair events.

Photo Credit: Singapore Disability Sport Council

In the midst of busyness to train for the games, Nurul prioritises her Wednesdays to volunteer as a coach at MDAS with their Boccia programme.

She shared: “As an athlete, a lot of things are within my internal locus of control; discipline, punctuality, focus, motivation, etc. As a volunteer coach, it is challenging managing a group of players with varying levels of interest, motivation and skills. Definitely challenges my patience to a whole different level.”

For those who are unaware of what Boccia is, it is a game designed for athletes with physical disability where athletes throw as many leather balls as close as possible to the target ball. Click here (https://www.aseanparagames2015.com/the-games/sports/boccia) to find out more about the rules of the games in Boccia. 

Nurul shared with us her dedication towards Boccia as well as her training lifestyle that satisfyingly includes perks like traveling overseas on a regular basis. 

1) What are some of your personal aspirations for APG 2015?
I hope my family and friends can come and watch my team and I compete live. This is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. I also hope watching the Games live will encourage more people to pick up sports, regardless of ability.

2) How are your preparations for APG 2015 coming along?
We have been busy since May 2015 competing in other international Boccia competitions almost every month. We used these competitions as part of our training in terms of game strategy, flexibility and adaptability. Typically Monday to Friday is spent on ball drills like placing, pushing, ricochet. Saturdays we usually do game simulation and sparring.

3) How has training and competing in this sport impacted your life?
Since I took competing more seriously in 2009, I have slowly gravitated towards planning my life in four-year blocks aligned with the Paralympic cycle. Right now, I only have my sports and career life properly planned out till September 2016. Beyond that is pretty grey.

4) What has been the most memorable event for you in Boccia?
Qualifying for the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Photo Credit: Nurulasyiqah

5) What do your families and friends think of Boccia?
They are usually as excited as I am when I go for overseas competitions and understandably not particularly excited with my regular training sessions. Some have tried (playing boccia). Their first reaction is almost always "This is harder than I thought!"

6) Besides training, how do you spend your free time? 
Learning Japanese! I attend classes on Sundays so Saturday evenings after Boccia training I usually spend time furiously revising and completing my homework. 2015 has been a very hectic year. Since May, my BC3 Pair team and I have been travelling almost every month for competition. I'm looking forward to the year end break after the APG. Maybe I can start on my second "paint-by-number" painting that I bought last year!

The 8th ASEAN Para Games (APG) will be held in Singapore on 3rd to 9th December 2015. Click here to find out more.


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