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Celebrating our people - Muhammad Ashik Ishak

Deloitte SEA has many amazing people and as we celebrate our 175th Anniversary this year, we want to salute our passionate employees. Here, we spotlight Muhammad Ashik Ishak, previously Deloitte Singapore's Graphic Designer, who is a National Badminton Para-athlete and an avid sneaker collector.

1. When did you start representing Singapore in badminton as a para-athlete?

In 2007, I began my journey as a National Badminton Para-athlete, and in 2008, I participated in my first official tournament, the 2008 ASEAN Para Games in Korat, Thailand.

2. Tell us about your interesting hobby of collecting sneakers and how many do you own now?

I started collecting sneakers in 2005, when I started my tertiary studies.

In my younger days, I was greatly influenced by the hip-hop culture and surrounded by friends who were in the hip-hop scene. As sneakers are a big part of the hip-hop culture, I grew to like them and slowly started my own collection.

I do not have an exact figure for my current sneaker collection, but I could most probably rotate all my sneakers for a year!

3. Tell us more about your journey as a National Badminton Para-athlete.

Initially, badminton was not my thing, and it was a sport that I played leisurely with my brothers. The person who got me more involved in badminton was my driving instructor, who was part of the Singapore Disability Sports Council committee. He invited me to an annual local badminton tournament for the disabled. I entered the competition with no expectations and surprisingly, I emerged Champion and was given the ticket to be in the national team.

The transition from a recreational player to a national player with rigorous training regimes was the toughest challenge I faced during my stint as an athlete. However, once I got used to the rigorous system, trainings no longer felt like a chore and I never regretted getting involved in it.

My greatest achievement was having to go through a weight loss program to prepare myself for a tournament and being able to achieve the targets set out for me. Being able to endure the sweat, pain and tears that went into achieving my target was worth it.

My greatest setback during this journey, would be the loss of my Mum. After experiencing the devastating loss of my greatest supporter, I lost the enthusiasm to continue playing during that dark period.

4. What have you learnt during this journey and what is your best takeaway?

My biggest takeaway from this journey would be overcoming the hurdles faced during the transition from a recreational player to being a national athlete. There were many moments during the transition where I wanted to walk away and call it quits.

Through this journey, I have learnt that determination and effort will bring you to a certain level, but if you do not have the resilience when the odds are against you or when you are on the edge of giving up, you would not be able to succeed.

Lastly, being disabled does not mean not being abled at all, there are always alternatives.  

5. How do you balance between work, family and your hobbies? 

With the support and understanding from the people around me, the right balance between work, family and my personal hobbies comes naturally. With that, it does not allow me to neglect my responsibility as an employee, a husband, a father and a sneaker collector. 

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