SINGAPORE: The Rio 2016 Olympics will be the biggest sporting event of the year. Since the inception of the Olympic Games in 1948, Singapore has won only four medals in two sports - a silver in weightlifting and a silver and two bronze in table tennis.
This year, a total of 10 Singapore athletes have already made the qualifying mark for the Olympics.
Channel NewsAsia spoke with swimming star Tao Li on her lessons learnt from her time at the Olympics. In Beijing 2008, she made history by becoming the first Singaporean to ever reach a final at the Olympics. She went on to finish fifth in the 100 metres butterfly.
It was a momentous day for the swimmer and the nation, and raised hopes that she would go on to win a medal in 2012.
But it was not to be. At the London Olympics, Tao Li failed to even reach the final.
The swimmer recounted: "In 2012, I didn’t perform like I did in 2008. I didn’t perform that well. I had a change in coaches so maybe that was why I came in tenth.
“That’s the main reason I didn’t really perform well because in four years I’ve changed two coaches. Training is a very important system. During 2008 and 2012, I have a team behind me like physios, gym trainers, and masseuses. Nutritionists will help you in your recovery, they'll tell you what to eat and what not to eat."
The former Sports School student said she has benefited from Singapore's sporting system. Training and support systems aside, Tao Li said success ultimately boils down to how determined the individual is, and this involves making a lot of sacrifices.
On the sacrifices she has made, Tao Li said: "I have to give up a lot. I don’t have time for myself. I don’t have time to catch up with friends, because I have to study, go training, do my recovery and go for my massage.
“I have a lot of things to do that revolves around training. I didn’t have a lot of fun that teenagers are supposed to have at my age. But it’s all worth it, I think."
The 25-year-old recently announced that her Olympic journey is over. She is now hoping to inspire the next generation of swimmers at her new swimming school at Temasek Club.