They Put Singapore On The World Map In 2022
As the world opened up this year, Singapore and Singaporeans emerged from the pandemic in winning ways, in a showcase of physical excellence and the triumph of the human spirit.
From champion athletes to everyday heroes, these individuals epitomise passion, perseverance, and dedication, and, in the process, put the limelight on our Little Red Dot.
Read on and be wowed by awesome Singaporeans who made their mark on the global stage in 2022.
Who dat: Feng is the GOAT of table tennis. Her overall medal tally makes her the most decorated table tennis player ever at the Commonwealth Games, and Singapore's most bemedalled Olympian. And to cap off her amazing year, she became the first Singaporean and table tennis player to be conferred the David Dixon Award, given to the most outstanding athlete at the Commonwealth Games.
Waseh ups: She's currently with Sport Singapore, working on the development of sport pathways for children and youths, particularly in table tennis. She is also pursuing a master's degree in sports industry management at Peking University.
Priveen Suraj Santakumar
Who dat: This 34-year-old saw the plight of Ukrainians on TV and decided to do something about it. He flew to neighbouring Poland to help humanitarian groups feed and transport refugees displaced by the war. This was his first humanitarian mission.
Waseh ups: Priveen became one of the first nominees for The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year award this year. "Sometimes, we need a wake-up call by experiencing situations beyond our comfort zone," says Priveen, in an interview with the paper. "I hope my experience will allay the fears people might have and encourage them to get directly involved."
Muhammad Taqi Aljaafari Jahari
Who dat: Whenever a ref did the “square” hand gesture at World Cup this year, know that a Singaporean helped make the correct call on the pitch. The 36-year-old was the only Southeast Asian and one of the 24 match officials operating the video assistant referee (VAR) system at Qatar.
Waseh ups: Taqi is no stranger to the big stage. He was one of the VAR officials at the Tokyo Olympics men's football final between Brazil and Spain. He also had stints officiating at the AFC Champions League, AFC Asian Cup, and the FIFA U-20 World Cup. What a journey it has been for Taqi since he took up a ref course at the age of 16!
Who dat: The World No. 3 badminton champ won Bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games (mixed team) and at the Asia Team championships (men’s team) this year, and capped off 2022 with a nomination for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Male Player of the Year award. The sensational shuttler is the first Singaporean to be shortlisted.
Waseh ups: Our 2022 Singapore Sportsman of the Year also qualified for this year’s World Tour finals, making him the first Singaporean man to compete at the tournament featuring the current Top 8 players of the world.
Who dat: She is the first local artist to have two sculptures up in space. Inspired by unity, diversity and complexity in humankind, the two cubes entitled “The Cube of Interaction” and "Structure and Reflectance", respectively, were launched to the International Space Station in February.
Wahseh ups: The two artworks are set to descend to Earth this month for a global tour. Then, they are bound for the moon in 2025 and will be part of the Moon Gallery permanently.
Li Ling Yung-Hryniewiecki
Who dat: She is the first Singaporean woman to swim across the English Channel, and did it in 12 hours and 57 minutes in chilly 19°C temperatures. And the feat wasn’t for the record books, but for a good cause - to raise funds for the Splash Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Hong Kong that provides free learn-to-swim lessons and water safety skills to low-income communities.
Waseh ups: Want to be like her? To prepare for the 34km swim, she trained over the winter, took hour-long ice baths, and clocked swims of about 30km to 35km every other week. "I want to show people that it's possible if you put your mind to it, and you prepare for it, and you're patient, you can do it,” said Li Ling in an interview with Channel NewsAsia.
Who dat: Wow, talk about fitspo goals! This Singaporean bodybuilder won the National Physique Committee (NPC) Worldwide British Bodybuilding Championships in July, earning herself an IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) pro card in the process. This means that she will be able to compete at the highest level of the sport.
Waseh ups: Next stop, Olympia 2023, one of the world’s biggest bodybuilding competitions. Amanda is also the co-founder of Vaultage, a line of activewear exclusively designed in Singapore.
Alice Shi, Rachael Leong, and Tara Nur Ibrahim
Who dem: These three equestrian athletes from the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre (STCRC) were selected to represent Singapore at the the Princess’s Cup 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand. The trio competed in both the team and individual categories of the borrowed horse’s competition (up to 110cm). Alice finished 2nd in the individual category.
Waseh ups: This was the trio's debut at the tournament. They also rode on borrowed horses, which tests the rider's skill as they have zero connection with their mount.
"I got second place in the end, but the medal belongs to the whole team, because nothing would’ve been possible without their support. I hope that we have done both STCRC and Singapore proud!” says Alice.