Q: How does it feel to represent Singapore with your sister?
Inez: As this is the first time our team is debuting in the ASEAN Para Games, it feels exciting, but I’m also slightly nervous at the same time.
My name is Inez and I play goalball for Singapore.
Joan: Hi I’m Joan, I am a national goalball player.
Since it’s the first time my team is representing Singapore in the ASEAN Para Games, I feel pretty excited. Especially representing Singapore alongside my sister. It’s cool. Not a lot of people get to do that.
Q: How does your family feel about it?
I: When I joined goalball, my sister had been playing goalball for some time, so the support is already there. Support from her and from my family.
J: My family is supportive of us playing goalball.
Q: Describe your sister, as a sibling.
I: My sister Joan is the more happy-go-lucky and excitable one. She talks a lot and makes a lot of noise in general.
Q: Describe the kind of athlete your sister is.
I: As an athlete, my sister is hardworking, and one of the most dedicated players on our team. She trains hard.
J: My sister Inez is hardworking. She trains a lot. Even though her work hours are a bit crazy, she still makes it to training.
Q: What do you enjoy about your sport?
J: I got into goalball in 2015, when Singapore hosted the Asean Para Games for the first time. Some of my colleagues got me to try it, and I thought okay, let’s just try. And I kind of got hooked, and here I am.
Q: How important was sports growing up for you both?
I: Sports for me growing up was pretty important. I’ve always done sports since secondary school and have never really stopped. I just play different sports at different points of my life.
J: Sports was always important to me. I really loved running around, playing basketball, and climbing around. It was fun, but I guess as I grew older I did less of that, until I started playing goalball.
Q: How does your sister’s presence on the court help you in your game?
I: Having my sister on the court with me is a good feeling. She’s one of the most experienced players so no matter what I do, I trust that she’ll be there to catch the ball. I can pass the ball to her knowing that she’ll know what to do next.
J: My sister’s presence in the court is pretty calming because I’m kind of the more excitable one, and she is relaxed and focused. We do talk about goalball a lot and point out to each other the parts we can do better.
Q: Do you give each other tips on how to get better at the game?
I: Outside of training sessions, we talk about goalball and share ideas we have with each other.
Q:What’s each other’s annoying habits?
I: My sister’s most annoying habit is that she is very irritable in the morning when she has not had her coffee, so try not to talk to her before that.
J: My sister’s Inez most annoying habit is that she’s pretty bossy. She tells me to do a lot of things a lot of the time. But when it comes to goalball, it’s actually kind of helpful because if she tells me what to do, I don’t have to think about it and I can just do it.
Q: Complete this sentence: Being an athlete is ________.
I: To me, being an athlete means working hard towards something I want to achieve, but having fun at the same time.
J: To me, being an athlete means having a goal to work towards. It means putting my eyeshades on and wanting to give 100% on the court.
Q: Who were you before you played goalball? Before you turned professional? Describe the kind of person you were.
I: Who was I before goalball? Before goalball I was a cheerleader.
J: Before playing goalball, I wasn’t very goal oriented. I did a lot of different things, but there wasn’t anything that I really put a lot into.
Q: Who is the person you want to become? Describe the kind of athlete you want to be.
I: The type of athlete I would like to become is someone who can focus on what is important and try my best to work towards it no matter what obstacle is in my way.
Q: What is your personal hope for the Manila Games?
I: My personal hope for the ASEAN Para Games is to work together with the team, try my best and hopefully be able to get a medal.
J: My personal hope for the Manila games is to get a medal.
Q: What’s your message to others who are disabled but are interested in sports, or those who are curious about Para sports?
I: To anyone who’s curious about goalball, just come and try it, you’ll never know until you give it a go.
J: If there’s something I would really like people to know about goalball is that it is a game for everyone, not just the visually impaired. Once you put the eye shades on, everyone is on a level playing field. So it doesn’t matter if you have no vision, low vision, or if you’re sighted, you can play goalball and have fun.
Q: When you walk into the court, share with us some thoughts that are going through your mind.
I: When I’m waiting, I focus on breathing and taking my time to listen to where the ball is coming from. If I have to attack or throw the ball, I will think about what I need to do at that point in time. For example, if I need to throw the ball I’ll think, okay “I need to go low, I need to push the ball forward”. I don’t let the external environment distract me and mess me up along the way or make me lose focus.
J: When I enter the arena and I hear the whistle from the referee, I get excited. With my eye shades on, I can’t see anything so I just focus on what’s in front of me, what’s happening right now, and what’s about to happen. Then I have to react quickly, whether it’s to block the ball or catch and throw it.
Q: Do you have a pet name for your sister?
Her nickname when I call her on court is ‘Xingah’.