The first part of an ongoing year round series of web articles, Cachet interviews national mens’ hockey player Tan Yiru for our client THORB, Singapore’s premier sports apparel line.
Cachet is proud to be the brand manager and content provider for THORB, handling all aspects of its marketing campaign for 2012, utilizing both online and live platforms to push the brand to the next level.
THORB interviews – Tan Yiru
In the first of a series of interviews featuring sportsmen from various disciplines, we catch up with Tan Yiru, National Men’s Hockey player and find out what it takes to compete in hockey at the highest level.
Subject: Tan Yiru, 22, male
How did you get into hockey?
I first started playing hockey when I was 9 in primary three, for Xi Shan Primary School. At that time, all my classmates were all hockey players, and I decided to join the sport because I wanted to play with my buddies. It all started from there.
When I was 15, I went for the national SEA Games trials, but I was too young. Instead, I joined the development squad and my passion really grew from there.
What do you love about the sport?
The team spirit and bonding with my teammates are things that attracts me to the sport. In hockey, I feel that the bonds are much stronger.
In Singapore, we know before we joined the sport, that we are not going to get paid as much as other professionals because hockey is not recognized as a core sport yet. So really, it is all about playing for pride and passion (and) fighting hard for your teammates. My teammates are all good friends of mine, so it is also very competitive as well. You know that there is one spot that will go to either you or your buddy, but this pushes us even further.
You went to Paris, France, for trials with a professional hockey team. What was the experience like?
It was a great time for me. It was a completely different culture; the way they play is very tactical. I went there feeling like I was a real professional because everything was provided such as accommodation, food, money. All I had to focus on was playing hockey. But at the same time, I felt that there wasn’t a very big gap between our Singapore players and the French players. The difference is that the French players started on their fundamentals from a very early stage when they were kids.
What does the future hold for Singapore Hockey?
When I first joined the national team, we were ranked 50 in the world. Now we have moved up to 41 which is not bad for us.
Our next tournament is the Olympic qualifiers from the 18th Feb to 26th Feb. Our team target is to get into the top four out of six of the best teams in the world. We know that it is going to be extremely tough because we’ve only had three weeks to prepare, because of our last minute inclusion into the group, whereas the other teams have been preparing for one and a half years. So if we do make it into the top four of the group, it will be a great achievement.
For now, I think our next goal is to be able to beat the Malaysian hockey team consistently. They are ranked amongst the top 10 in the world, and if we want to move onto the next level, we have to beat them consistently. We want to prove to ourselves that we are able to be counted amongst the best in the world.
What would you say has been your greatest sporting achievement so far?
Playing in major international tournaments such as the upcoming Olympic Qualifiers will always help us gain more experience on the international stage. For me personally, it was the Junior World Cup (JWC) in 2009, when I scored the first ever JWC goal by a Singaporean.
Finally, in your opinion, what does it take to be a true sportsman?
For me, it is all about commitment and sacrifice. I didn’t think about any alternatives when I decided to commit to playing hockey. It was either that or nothing at all. I think for any sport, commitment and sacrifice are important to really succeed.