Joshua Lim (in the class of 4.15 ‘16) is the next track and field prodigy to emerge from ACS (Independent), following an illustrious tradition of alumni including Ng Chin Hui and Poh Seng Song. He holds the national record for the C Division 400m event, and has represented Singapore in the Asian Schools Games and ASEAN Schools Games. Year to Year catches up with Joshua to find out more about the reason behind his success.
Q: How did you end up joining track and field?
A: In Primary Three in ACS (Primary) I won the school sports day, and I somehow appeared on a list of athletes who the track and field team wanted. I was quite excited then, even though I didn’t really think much of it. I then decided to join the twice-weekly training sessions, and in the first nationals I participated and won the 100m and 200m events. That was quite exciting! I felt that my effort had paid off, even though I treated it as a trial run (haha) rather than a serious test. It was then that I started to realise that I maybe had some talent in track. After joining the Junior Sports Academy, my training increased to five times a week. When I reached P6 though, I started to ask myself whether what I was doing was really worth the time and effort I was putting in. It was then that I decided to continue and do it not for myself, but for God and His glory.
Q: What’s your current training like?
A: Tiring! I train three times a week during off-season, and during season I do long runs on the days when I don’t have training (if I feel up to it). Uhh…but I think that one of the things that keeps me in track is the rest of my team and the company I share with them. I would find that it’s difficult to forge friendships like these other than through hardship in a sport.
Q: What do you think is the reason for your success?
A: I think it’s a bit of everything. Probably the main reason is the support of my parents, who’ve supported me in whatever I choose to do. Except in decisions that might “impair my socio-communication abilities” (like buying an Xbox), they’ve encouraged me to be more outgoing, getting me to talk to their friends from other countries and telling me never to shy away from opportunity. They fetch me to trainings, act as my psychologists and friends, and been my pillar for everything. I feel as close to them as my friends.
Q : What are your goals and aspirations in track?
A: It would be…in the short term, the B Division record… and then the A Division record. The bigger picture would be to get onto a bigger platform to glorify God, maybe the Straits Times? That would be good. The SEA Games record would also be not bad. Ok maybe win the SEA Games lah, I don’t mind that as well. I would feel extremely blessed to be able to achieve that.
Q: How do you balance your studies with your track and field commitments?
A: I don’t. Haha no lah joking. It’s a matter of where I put my priorities. For me, sports has always been a stepping stone to get to greater heights but I feel that in a small country like Singapore, the main path is through academics. Especially since I intend on becoming a lawyer in the future. Leading up to the examination period, I plan out a timetable of my training days, my breaks, and the ways in which I can maximise my time when I’m not training.
Q: Do you think there’s anything especially difficult about being a student-athlete?
A: Yes. The pressure. That and the commitment that makes one feel as if there’s a weight on your back, always looking forward to what’s going to happen the next year. On top of that, remaining consistent in academics and trainings in the days leading up to competitions is difficult. I feel what differentiates the best student athletes is their ability to manage this pressure. One person I’ve learnt from in this aspect is my brother, who’s shown me that academics don’t have to be compromised for the sake of sporting greatness in his pursuit of rugby. He’s always had it very clear in his mind what his priorities are, which is why he didn’t get a girlfriend until he was 21.
Q: What do you think is special about ACS?
A: There’s a lot of emphasis on spiritual development, as well as the development of character, and that provides a good balance along with focus on academics. It’s very difficult to find outside of ACS. I think the equal importance placed on these three areas is what really makes a man.
Q: Do you have a role model in sports?
A: Eric Liddell. I feel that he saw the bigger picture, and he understood why he was in track. He wasn’t nervous about his competition because he found assurance in Christ alone, and saw track as a means to glorify Him. Nothing more than that. The movie Chariots of Fire was a very good depiction of his character.
Q: Last question – what do you look for in a girl?
A: One that loves the Lord.