Name: Ho Puay Ling
Due to represent Singapore in her third SEA Games, National Field Hockey Women’s Captian, Ho Puay Ling’s first exposure to hockey was in Teck Whye Secondary School. “I joined Hockey in secondary school because I thought that running around the field with a stick and ball was cool,” recalls the recent James Cook University (JCU) graduate. “I also felt that using a long stick to control a tiny ball was interesting and intriguing.”
As we have witnessed many a talented athlete dropping out of our sport in their prime, we queried Puay Ling on what her motivation is in her unwavering passion for hockey. “I’ve always wanted to play internationally against bigger teams, like the Europeans. And that is what keeps me going and pushing hard every session.” She also had some words of advice for younger hockey players trying to make it to the international stage, “Hard work and perseverance will never fail you.”
To many, being captain of your national team must seem like a daunting task. But to Puay Ling, the responsibility was easier than she had expected. The cooperation from her teammates and their work ethic allowed the team to bond very quickly, and thus allowed for more emphasis to be placed on fitness, tactical and technical training. Furthermore, with the majority of the squad having been together since August 2016, there has been sufficient time to understand and appreciate one another’s strengths, weaknesses and quirks. This has also allowed for any new additions to the team to fit in easily and seamlessly.
Their off-field bond has greatly aided in the team posting outstanding results in recent tournaments. Namely in the 2016 Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) cup and 2017 Women Hockey World League Round 2, attaining 2nd and 6th in overall position respectively. Puay Ling is positive that with the team that they have now, reaching their team goals in the 2017 SEA Games is definitely within sight for them.
In the course of our conversation with Puay Ling, we managed to find a few tidbits about her that may surprise you. Puay Ling trained as a ballet dancer for 7 years and almost entered ballet school. This probably accounts for her agility, grace and elegance on the hockey pitch. Furthermore, Puay Ling is a foodie and chances are that you will run into her in places that sell famous local dishes, such as chicken rice, nasi lemak and chilli crabs. We can only imagine the personal struggle she faces daily when she has to choose between adhering to the nutritionist’s advice and that tantalising plate of nasi lemak.
Catch Puay Ling in action in her number 11 jersey this coming SEA Games happening between 19th and 30th August. You can also keep a lookout for Puay Ling playing in the National Women’s League 1 for Jansenites!