TOKYO – A weight was lifted off diver Jonathan Chan’s shoulders on Friday (Aug 6).
Not only because he executed his dives “to expectation” in the men’s 10m platform preliminary round at the Olympics, becoming the first Singapore man in his sport to do so.
But also because earlier that day, his Final Year Project (FYP) concluded with a presentation that his group mates graciously agreed he could skip.
“Earlier they texted me that our presentation went well, and they said jiayou (goodluck in Mandarin) for later,” he said in the media mixed zone after his dives.
Chan, 24, scored 311.15 over six dives at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre, which placed him 26th in the field of 29. This meant that he did not qualify for today’s semi-finals.
China’s Yang Jian led the semi-finalists with a score of 546.90, while 18th-placed Kim Yeong-taek from South Korea took the last spot with 366.80 points.
On his performance, Chan said his first five dives “could have gone better” but said that they were not out of the ordinary from what he had been executing in training.
“So it was within expectations. I’m quite satisfied with it,” he said.
The final-year architecture major at the Singapore University of Technology and Design also revealed that he even did some of his FYP work at the Singapore National Olympic Council’s office in the Olympic Village – where athletes and officials reside – in the days leading up to his competition.
This act of balancing sport with academics – and also National Service – is why he felt relief after everything was said and done yesterday.
“It’s been quite a long journey with both school, Covid-19 and training over the past two years, especially with the (one-year postponement of the Olympics),” he explained.
“I think now, other than finishing my finals, I’m ready for a good break before I decide on anything else.”
It is also why Chan, who was the first Singaporean to qualify for the Tokyo Games in September 2019, is ready to quit his sport for good.
He added, however, that he would use his post-Olympics rest period to seek “a clearer picture” on his next step.
Asked why he wanted to leave sport, he said: “It (the whole diving career) has been too long… It’s been non-stop school, training, army, training… I didn’t have a ‘break’ break where I could decide if I wanted to continue or not. For this break, I will.”
Chan is the last member of the 23-strong Team Singapore contingent – spread across a record 12 sports – in Tokyo to compete.
His family back home in Singapore – dad Kenneth and mum Foo Yan Nuen, sisters Kimberly and Colette and cousin Roxanne Foo – were also eagerly watching his dives live on TV.
Foo had initially planned to travel to Tokyo to support her son but was unable to do so after organisers banned local and international spectators. She said: It wasn’t as good as being there, but we were screaming our heads off here.”