Singapore Ex-Swimmer Christina Tham Wins SEA Games First Gold In Underwater Hockey

What do you hope to achieve when you’re in your 40s or 50s?

For Christina Tham, a Singaporean ex-swimmer, she wanted to prove to herself that she’s still fit, and aimed to compete at the SEA Games in a physically demanding event.

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Now 50 years old, Ms Tham still competes and was part of the Singapore underwater hockey team that recently clinched 2 gold medals at the 2019 SEA Games, reports Channel NewsAsia (CNA) on Friday (6 Dec).

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Christina Tham was a former national swimmer

Ms Tham isn’t a stranger to the SEA Games. According to CNA, she first represented Singapore at the 1981 SEA Games as a swimmer when she was only 12 right after her PSLE.

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When asked about her shocking inclusion, Ms Tham said,

I made it to the team because I was the fastest breaststroker in Singapore.

She clinched a silver medal for her event in 1981 and repeated the feat 2 years later.

SEA Games gold medal came 36 years later

For Ms Tham, the sweet taste of victory came only 36 years later, when her underwater hockey team won the 4×4 competition on Wednesday (4 Dec).

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They won another gold medal in the 6×6 competition on Thursday (5 Dec).

Ms Tham was, of course, ecstatic.

It feels incredible, awesome, unbelievable. I don’t know if anyone else has done or is doing what I’m doing.

Learned underwater hockey only as an adult

Ms Tham only got into underwater hockey when she was 36 years old after she saw an advertisement in the newspapers.

She apparently thought that underwater hockey “would leverage on [her] swimming ability”. At the same time, she would be stepping out of her comfort zone by participating in a team sport.

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Ms Tham added that her experience learning to work with others in sports was important.

The new sport wasn’t easy to pick up initially. She related,

Underwater hockey is a combination of fitness… as well as skills… speed teamwork, knowing how each of [her] other teammate plays.

Still, Christina preserved and eventually overcame these challenges.

Age is but a number

Christina Tham’s story shows that one’s age shouldn’t put a limit on what one can achieve.

… age is really just a number and that you are only as old as you feel.

Be it aged 12 or 50, Ms Tham went against the notion of one being too young or old to achieve greatness.

We hope her story will encourage other Singaporeans and show others that they’re never too old to start something new, or too young to achieve whatever they want.

Featured image adapted from YouTube and CNA.