Winning at wushu

Packing a punch: Ong (in black) and Ng won two medals each for their participation in the online tournament.

TAKING part in wushu as a co-curricular activity in secondary school has continued to reap dividends for two students from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR).

Ong Wesley and Ng Yong Quan, who are members of the university’s wushu club, won two medals each at the International WuDeBei Traditional Wushu Online Competition 2020.

Ong bagged gold for Gong Li Quan and bronze for Qun Yang Gun, while Ng took home two silvers for Traditional Baji Fist and Traditional Double Weapon.

It was their first time joining a wushu competition via the digital format.

Held from Nov 1 to Dec 15 last year, the competition required participants to produce a full recording of their performance according to their respective categories, and submit it to the organisers for evaluation by a panel of judges.

“I’m happy to win the gold medal but I’m surprised I got the bronze. I could have done better than that, ” said Ong, a physiotherapy student at the varsity’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

He admitted that he was nervous during the recording even though it was not live-streamed.

“Knowing that it was a competition and that judges would be watching my performance made me tense, but I would have been even more nervous had it been a live performance, ” said the 20-year-old.

Ng, a final year electrical and electronic engineering student at the Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science, added that with the digital format, participants had the advantage of redoing their routines, asking coaches for feedback, rerecording their performances, and choosing the best for submission.

The 25-year-old is elated with his win, especially so because prior to the competition, he felt his wushu training had reduced in frequency and intensity due to the pandemic and subsequent movement control orders.

“It’s quite satisfying that I still managed to win two silvers. Ong and I encouraged each other to maintain our stamina so we could do well at the competition, ” he said, adding that he is thankful to UTAR for sponsoring their participation.

The competition was co-organised by the International WuDeBei Traditional Wushu Federation, the Singapore Traditional Wushu Federation, and the Singapore Siang Hock Kong Cultural and Arts Bureau.

It drew participants from secondary schools and universities, as well as traditional wushu enthusiasts from all around South-East Asia.

Both Ong and Ng got into wushu at age 13 – Ong liked “action stuff” and wanted to expend excess energy, while Ng, having grown up watching Bruce Lee shows, was attracted to kungfu.

They look forward to joining more competitions in future, with Ong hoping to qualify for the Sukma Games.

“The age limit for Sukma athletes is 21. If I don’t get a chance to take part in it, I will continue to better myself at it as a sport. It’s good for exercise and it improves your muscle strength, ” said Ong.

Ng hopes that more youngsters will involve themselves in traditional cultural activities, and that more parents will encourage them to do so.

“Wushu is not only a part of Chinese heritage, but also beneficial to us as a sport, ” he said.

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