Interview with Patrick Tan: Sports make him become a better person

Patrick Tan, a first-year student in King’s College London, he always appears to be quiet and introverted. The first meeting gave people a gentle temperament, so it’s difficult to picture him as someone who can’t live without sports. It’s surprising how well he can grasp a variety of sports including football, volleyball and table tennis and produce outstanding outcomes in a large number of contests. He was a gifted athlete who captained the varsity squad in three sports in high school. Patrick Tan shared some stories about how sports had changed his life and helped him become a better person.

When did you first develop a strong interest in sports?

“Oooh, honestly this question brings back some childhood memories. By chance, I was fortunate enough to watch a World Table Tennis Open live with my father when I was eight years old. These excellent players staged wonderful competitions for the audience. Their outstanding abilities and enthralling game atmosphere wowed me. I was greatly moved by players’ tenacity and never-give-up attitude. Since then, I’ve got a great desire to participate in sports and attend matches.”

How much time and effort do you put into sports?

“I’ve been a member of the table tennis school team since elementary school and have trained every day. Usually I was sweating and training in front of the ping pong table while other students were playing and resting after school. The hard-working spirit I cultivated since I was a child makes me look out of tune with other classmates, but this is what I like to do. Furthermore, I also spend a lot of time playing football and volleyball, as you know haha…”

Do you think it is worth?

“Yeah, absolutely. I believe my exertion and reward are proportional. Through accumulated training and dedication, I achieved excellent results in many large-scale competitions and was successfully selected into the provincial table tennis team when I was in middle school. I’ve always believed that “no pain, no gain.” My teammates and I also won the student volleyball and soccer championships two years ago.”

How do you think table tennis has changed you?

“That is a good question. Table tennis taught me that the best way to progress is to put in steady effort day after day. Never be afraid of your opponent in a game; even if you are far behind, you must not surrender. The same is true in life. I am not afraid of any challenges and will do everything in my power to overcome them and persevere until the end.”

Is this true for other sports as well?

“Not quite the same. In high school, I was the captain of the football and volleyball teams. I used to be a little shy and apprehensive about approaching others even dislike interacting and communicating with people. Through these team sports, I learned a lot of communication skills and social skills that help me get along with people and solve problems in life better.”

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