SEA Games 2015 Blog

Life at Deloitte

SEA Games 2015 Blog

Finding the extraordinary

This blog tells the stories of our people who are on the SEA Games 2015 journey. From the management team, to organizing committee, volunteers, and our athletes, each one of them will walk a different path but ultimately it will converge towards a common goal – one of pride and glory, with dreams in hand.

22 May 2015

Derek’s Story
Derek Wong
Research Analyst, Clients & Markets and Team Singapore badminton player

One could say badminton is in my blood: both my parents played badminton for Singapore, and I grew up in a badminton shop that my parents used to run within the premises of the old Singapore Badminton Hall.

My father took me to the Hall to play badminton for the first time when I was five years old and it became a decade-long ritual.

Every day, after school, I would do my homework at the shop. When I was done, I could always rely on friendly uncles playing in the Hall to smack shuttlecocks to and fro with me as I waited for my parents to close the shop for the day. When there was no one around, I found a sparring partner in my grandmother, who used to help string rackets at the shop.

It was after my O-levels that I took badminton more seriously, and I started my career as a professional sportsman. It was not an easy decision – it was one that was made with a lot of input and counsel from my parents, my teachers and also from the seniors that I looked up to. But once I made that decision, I was determined to never look back.

Rankings tell me that I am the number one badminton Men’s Singles player in Singapore, and 42 in the world. The journey to where I am now is not one that was smooth-sailing. There were bumps along the way, such as losing my training momentum during my time in National Service (NS). To me, the time lost was part of my national obligation and it is life experience I do not regret. But when I finished my NS, I had to discipline myself to train doubly hard when I returned to professional sport.

Two years later, in 2011, I had a breakthrough at the World Championships in London when I defeated Olympic and World Champion Taufik Hidayat in the second round. That win was a great confidence booster for me – it showed me that, through hard work and discipline, nothing is impossible.

Since then, some of my proudest moments include representing Singapore at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and winning the silver medal (and a team bronze medal) at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

With the many games and tournaments that I have won and lost over the years, I have come to realise that my focus and determination is because of the support I have around me. Apart from my family, my friends and my teammates, being an employee with Deloitte has given me more security to pursue my sporting goals without worry.

Also, the world for a professional athlete can be rather small. Being part of the Deloitte family has introduced me to a new world outside of badminton and my life skills have improved markedly. It was a new experience for me to play badminton with my colleagues, instead of my teammates that I’m so used to, at corporate challenges. I was very pleased when we did well!

I believe that while organisations like Deloitte can do a lot to help support and nurture athletes, there is also a lot that athletes can give back. We have been trained to handle pressure and be confident in front of the media and when speaking in public. We learn from both success and failure, and we have a competitive mindset that chases improvement. These are all qualities that will allow us to do well and adapt in whatever we choose to undertake.

The 28th SEA Games is not the first SEA Games for me (I won the bronze medal in the 2011 edition), but it holds great significance. This is the first time I am competing in a SEA Games held in Singapore, mirroring the time when my father too competed in the 1983 SEA Games, also hosted by Singapore. It was at that Games that my father clinched Singapore’s first badminton men’s singles gold medal.

32 years later, I find myself where my father was. I have big shoes to fill, and with badminton powerhouses like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam in the mix, winning the gold medal is not going to be easy.

I am training hard, and I am confident that with the right attitude and mindset, I will ignite the fire within me to do well on home ground, with my family, my friends and my Deloitte colleagues behind me. My aspiration as a national athlete is to bring glory to my country, and I hope to do so come 5 June 2015 at the 28th SEA Games, and for however long my time in professional badminton will let me.

I look forward to hearing your cheers!


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