After a cycling incident in 2013, Zac was told he’d be lucky to walk again. Yet, following miraculous strength and determination during rehabilitation, he has gone on to represent his home country, Singapore, in the ASEAN Para Games, winning the silver medal in the 1500m and setting the national record for the 400m, 800m and 1500m.
Growing up, Zac never settled for second best and aimed to be the best he could be. Shortly after beginning his studies, the Sport Science, Exercise and Health (SSEH) student and tutor began running marathons, using the knowledge he’d gained from classes.
“I wanted to be a sport scientist who was actively involved in sports. Having the opportunity to teach, share my experience with students and work with elite athletes at WA Institute of Sport is something I’m passionate about.”
Zac was strongly supported by offshore lecturer Dr Low Chee Yong (National Youth Sports Institute Singapore Head of Sport Science) to pursue his PhD. Dr Low was convinced Zac had talent as a researcher in exercise physiology and would often spend time after class sharing insights into his own life as a sport scientist. Because of him, Zac completed his honours degree and is now working towards his PhD, calling it one of the best decisions of his life.
A major obstacle for Zac was completing his honours alongside rehabilitation in 2014. Constant pain made it tough to get out of bed, attend lectures or perform data collection. Being unable to walk much or move his left arm or hand meant completing assignments and exams were also a great challenge. After the accident, Zac’s dream was to run and compete again. This was made possible by his coach and SSEH lecturer Grant Landers, as well as the SSEH clinic that provided rehab between classes. Pursuing the impossible together, Zac is now working towards qualifying for the 1500m in the Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
“Firstly, nothing is impossible. ‘Impossible’ is used only until someone makes it ‘possible’ – why not be the one to change the situation? I live by the mantra ‘nil sine labore’, which means ‘nothing without labor’ in Latin. Hard work will pay off if you work hard enough for it and endure the circumstances even if they are unfavorable.”
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