Credit: Iman Hashim
Being part of the National Team has been a long-standing dream of mine since I started my Athletics career in secondary school. Back then, I thought this dream was almost impossible to achieve, as many elite athletes seemed to be much more talented than me. Regardless, I held on to it and continued to work hard alongside the best coaches who believed in me and nurtured my passion for the sport.
However, no athlete's journey is without its challenges. In 2013, I faced an almost career-ending setback when I fractured my spine and needed to undergo four months of rehabilitation. The recovery process totalled nine months and felt like an eternity. It was frustrating since I had been training hard to prepare for my National Inter-School Track and Field Championships. Out of concern for my health and academics, my mother was adamant about pulling me out of competitive athletics altogether. I was devastated as everything seemed to be spiralling down for me at the tender age of 17.
Towards the end of Polytechnic, I was on and off track as the nagging pain from my spinal injury persisted, which sparked an eventual decision to take a two-year break from Athletics to focus on recovering while working as a nurse. Though it was initially hard to let go, I knew that the only way I could get better was to listen to my body and rest. While I rested from the track, I clung to the hope of representing Singapore on the track and reminded myself of my past achievements and the support I was getting from my inner circle. It kept me going through the hardest of days. Eventually, I chose to undergo spinal cord surgery to address the issue so that I would not have to continue abruptly stepping on and off the track.
Miraculously, I recuperated within six months and was already back to training. This rapid progress was unexpected, considering that the usual recovery period was around a year. Time passed swiftly, and I noticed that I was steadily meeting my goals as things began to fall into place perfectly. I was also able to secure a place at SIT in 2021 to pursue a degree in radiography instead of nursing, and I am currently halfway through my studies. Balancing academic pursuits with competitive training commitments can be very challenging at times, but it has never deterred me as I remain clear about my goals and what needs to be done.
In a turn of events, I received the opportunity to join the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia as a selected participant in the Women's 4x100m relay quartet and obtained my long-awaited citizenship early last year. A deep sense of joy engulfed me as I achieved this milestone because I finally had the privilege of representing Singapore on a global stage.
I look back on these moments of adversity with a heart full of gratitude. They were pivotal in building my resilience and determination to overcome setbacks and bounce back stronger. Dreaming big leaves no room for regrets and complacency, and it urges us to make the most out of what we have without looking back, wondering, “What if?”
For those who would like to show your support to Roxanne, you may do this here: https://www.arisesg.org/love-gift