Keeping fit is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. It is easy to forgo exercise in the face of an ever-increasing workload, yet one should not succumb to the temptation.
We speak to former national athlete Ms Yeo Pei Li to find out about life post-national athlete, and how she continues to keep a healthy and active lifestyle.
It’s been a few years since you have been on the track. When was the last time you won a medal and what event was it?
I can’t remember the last time I won a medal as a national athlete, but as a post-national athlete, the last time I won a medal was in 2013 - Singapore Masters Track and Field Championships, 100m Women Under 40, Gold.
What would you say was the highlight of your sporting career as a national athlete?
The highlight was when I qualified for the 4 x 100m women’s relay team. I have been in Track and Field since secondary school all the way through to university, but it was not until a few years later that I joined the national squad. The women’s relay team had very good team spirit as we fought hard to qualify for the SEA Games; we went for many races and trials but were still unable to beat the qualifying mark.
One the most memorable trips was the Malaysia Open Championships: the Singapore women quartet was entered for the 4 x 100 m race. I remembered the Singapore Athletics Association (SAA) chartered a private car to fetch us to KL. As cost and manpower was limited, I had to triple up as athlete, coach and manager. I never had to wear so many hats in one competition.
Share with us your philosophy towards running and excelling in it. If you had anything to say to someone who hopes do his/her school proud, what would it be?
“No regrets” is a motto that I hold close to my heart. Thus I am always motivated to do my best in every race. Of course I have my ‘down’ days where I just lose steam, but I think it is important to take an occasional break and not be so hard on yourself as I believe that the notion of ‘self-care’ is a vital factor to sustainability. “Never give up” is also a motto that I practice often. You never know what you can achieve if you don’t try.
How do you think sports/track& field has made an impact on your life?
It has definitely shaped me into who I am today. From my interaction and close relationships with the coaches, teammates, competitors whether local or overseas, I have learnt many things from them; resilience, perseverance, excellence, perfection. Athletics has also broadened my horizon due to the many local and overseas competitions, which are also culturally enriching as I interact with many overseas coaches and athletes.
You are now a mother of two boys, and have a fairly successful career as a teacher in a top girls’ school. How do you cope with these demands?
I cope by sticking to a strict personal rule. ‘Being present’ in the task that I am doing. When I am in school, I am fully committed to work. And when I am at home, I am fully committed to being with and for my family.
Ms Yeo & Family
What made you decide to go into teaching?
I was inspired by my then-boyfriend now husband. He was a trainee teacher at NIE then.
Do you still participate actively in sports? If yes, which sport?
Yes, as much as possible just to stay fit. I also watch my diet because I know being healthy and fit are 2 different ball games.
Besides running and cycling, I am also going for weekly zumba session in school. It started last year. I like it a lot cos it's a great break from work especially as the session is mid-week. I can just dance off the fatigue and ease the mind at the session.
Beginning this year, I've also started weekly yoga sessions. Practicing yoga calms the wandering mind and and helps us control our body so we can stay focused. I'm still at the discovery stage when it comes to yoga but I feel it's a great way to get to know your body better.
Ms Yeo (L), Mr Tham (R)