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Interview with Ng Yew Cheo from Singapore - The Inspiration for the Young Athletes

Ng Yew Cheo is currently pursuing her Masters in Exercise & Sport Studies, teaching, concurrently running and training competitively under her supervisor and coach, Dr. G. Balasekaran. She also does research that focuses on human performance and physical education. Cheo is FLV in the Foundation for Global Community Health.

She has been running competitively since she was 10 years old and is very passionate about the sport. She represented Singapore at the Western Australian Little Athletics (WALA) in 2000 and Singapore Open 2017 clinching bronze in 4x400m relay and 10,000m respectively. In addition, she has also participated in several local races/marathons and many of which she has come in top 3 placings.

Winning silver medal for 10,000m at Singapore Open 2017

She is also an IAAF Youth level 1 certified coach and coaches voluntarily at a non-profit track and field club – Cougars Athletic Association. She has also often gone beyond her time to help coach many young children and motivate their interest in running. She has also conducted workshops, developed videos and CDs on running tactics and prevention of injuries from running. She is also on Dr Balasekaran’s team that is working on the Brain Breaks study and developing a model school in Singapore.

With Prof. Ming Kai and Prof. G. Balasekaran in Model school in Singapore

Cheo also had opportunities to present her posters and oral presentations at international conferences such as American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Asian Association for Sport Management (AASM), BRICS Council of Exercise and Sports Science (BRICSCESS), Asian Council of Exercise & Sports Science (ACESS) etc.

She also helped to organize the IAAF Chief Coach Youth Academy for international elite track and field coaches that was held in Singapore from 9 – 14 October 2017.

Organising Cougars Cross Country for students to participate

She is also one of the authors for the following three books “Applied Physiology of Exercise Textbook”, “Applied Physiology of Exercise Laboratory Manual” and “Curricular Guide to Health-Fitness Applications in Physical Education Using the OMNI Perceived Exertion Scale” under the tutelage of Dr. Bala. Additionally, she is also one of the co-authors for book chapter on “Effects of Self-regulating Exercise Intensity using the OMNI Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale on Youths and Pedagogical Methods for Youths during Physical Education in Singapore. In Popoviæ, S., Antala, B., Bjelica, D., & Gardaeviæ, J. (Eds.), Physical Education in Secondary School: Researches - Best Practices – Situation (PP. 129-143). Bratislava: Faculty of Sport and Physical Education of University of Montenegro, Montenegrin Sports Academy and Fédération Internationale D´Éducation Physique (FIEP Europe).

What and how motivated you to start with track and fields?

It's passion. Loving what you do, it just motivates you naturally. Everything you do will become fun, despite the hard work.

Your own personal great achievement

Having to balance between academics and sporting achievement. I've represented Singapore in track and field twice and currently doing Masters. I'm also humbled to be given opportunities to speak at conferences, present my work, publish books and papers.

Your mentor and coach is Dr. BALA. Could you tell us something more regarding the way of mentorship... The good practices and the best lessons

Dr Bala is always my inspiration and role model. He tells me that the process is more important than the outcome as sometimes the adversities faced can be trying as there are times when I do not "achieve" my goals. He tells me that in life there are setbacks and I've to stay focused and keep on going. The hard work and discipline from running can transcend into work/schoolwork as well. Athletes can balance between both competitive running and work. Dr Bala also uses research evidence-based science in coaching, which I'm learning from him to incorporate during training sessions.

In addition, he also often encourages his students to do volunteer work as he also does volunteer work himself. Through Cougars Athletic Association, I spend my time coaching these student athletes and provide them with the same advice that Dr Bala has given. Some of these student athletes do not come from a privileged background and we do all we can to help them achieve their potential.

The challenge to competing and to be a couch the same time

Our athletes need attention and guidance at most times. Sometimes I train earlier before my athletes arrive so that I can focus on coaching them. It can be physically tiring as they have too much energy! However, it is rewarding to see them do well in their competitions and hit their personal best timings and/or win medals.

As a FLV tell us more regarding your experience working in multicultural environment

Being a FLV has been one of the most incredible experiences! It has been so amazing meeting all the other FLVs from different various countries and we get to collaborate with each other. The most interesting and superb part was getting to know more about each other's cultures and lifestyles.

You are the author of 3 books... The next challenge?

Not only in sports and coaching, I intend to move up academically after completing my Masters. Focusing on good research to have more publications as well.

Your legacy to the young athletes

I hope that future athletes would be able to run to their optimal performance, represent Singapore. Simultaneously, being able to achieve greater heights in their studies.

Singapore Open 2023, National Stadium


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