The WKF Senior World Championships 2021 – Dubai has concluded on 21 Nov 2021 and our 3 KGS players have since returned home. I have been writing reports for KGS for many years and I have to say this is by far the hardest one to write. Not so much because of the results but rather everything surrounding the karate situation in Singapore.
Some people may argue that this is the easiest WKF till date due to the pandemic. 105 countries participated with a total of 980 athletes, and although this is 30% less than the previous event in 2018 (Spain), in terms of standard, it is not any lower. Seven of the eight Olympics gold medallists participated in this event. Contrary to that belief that this was easy, there are scores of articles, research papers and reports on how the COVID pandemic has greatly impacted sports competitions at all levels from schools to international events. Some articles even propose that this pandemic has caused the most significant disruption since World War II. Regardless of the results, KGS remains proud of our 3 amazing athletes.
The period of time leading up to this has not been easy. Balancing work, school and training, they have shown resilience and determination far beyond their years. We have always known that competing at the international level was not going to be easy. Many of the international athletes train full-time with nary a care for anything else. Yet in Singapore, this was never going to be a possibility as we have all been taught to focus on education and career.
The pandemic has also changed the dynamics of external factors affecting the players during the competition. Albeit they do not have opposing fans jeering at them, they similarly have lost the presence and on-site support of their own friends and loved ones. Even at the Olympics level, athletes reported their struggle to deal with the significantly emptier stands and the impact it has had on their performance. Yet our athletes bravely forged ahead and did far better than many expected.
A loss is a loss and our athletes certainly felt it deeply. But in their first performance bearing the Singapore flag, it is an achievement nonetheless. While some may feel the need to be critical about the loss, one must remember this is their year 1 and it isn’t appropriate to compare to a year 6 achievement. The experience of competing in this environment and at this level is invaluable and will serve them well to prepare for the next one and hopefully many more to come. Nevertheless, this experience has inspired them push themselves further and to do better in future competitions.
To our athletes, in life you don’t regret the things you do. You regret the things you don’t do. This is but the beginning of the road ahead. A loss though it may be, take the experience you’ve gained and continue blazing a path for others to follow. In the words of Robert Downey Jr., “People rise out of the ashes because, at some point, they are invested with a belief in the possibility of triumph over seemingly impossible odds.”
Welcome home Sheng Da, Shi Ying and Shi Yun! An amazing job you’ve done, and we look forward to what you will do in the future!