Faith

Overcoming the odds: Team Singapore sailor Amanda Ng on her journey to the Olympics

Thir.st // July 29, 2021, 5:31 pm

Amanda Ng - SMU Snapshots

TeamSingapore sailor Amanda Ng. Photo from Snapshots by SMU.

Singaporean Amanda Ng competed in the RS:X Women category at the 2020 Olympics, but did you know that her journey to Tokyo was one fraught with pain and anguish?

Sharing her testimony with the young adults ministry in her church, the 27-year-old talks about how she managed to qualify for the Games against all odds — just seven days after a fall that left her with a Grade 2 medial collateral ligament tear in her knee.


On April 1, on my final training day before my Olympic qualifiers in Oman, I slipped and fell really badly on some marble steps as I was carrying my board.

It was a pretty bad fall as I had fallen in an awkward position, twisting my knee and hitting my head on the steps.

I was carrying my board overhead, and the entire weight of the board had also fallen on me, which made the impact of the fall even worse.

After getting over the shock of my fall, I started to feel excruciating pain on my knee. Immediately, I started to pray.

I asked God to take away the pain, and for all this to just be a scare. I remained quite positive, even when I could not stand and the ambulance was called to take me to the hospital.

Amanda competing in the in the Women’s Windsurfer RS:X at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Photo from TeamSingapore’s Facebook page.

I was just telling myself that it wasn’t a serious injury, and that I would be completely fine the following day. However, as the hours passed, the pain got increasingly worse.

The doctor took an X-ray and confirmed that I had no broken bones, but that I had most likely torn my ligament and had to rest in bed for a week. He then told me that I would not be able to race that week.

I think the look on the doctor’s face really shook me up because it made me realise that I was injured badly, and that there was a high chance that I would not be able to compete.

I was devastated and lost all faith in God.

Instead of praying for healing and surrendering to Him, I kept asking God why He would do this to me right before my Olympic qualifiers, which I had spent so many years preparing and sacrificed so much for.

When I got back to my room and was finally alone, I remember calling my mum and crying for hours. It was not because of the pain in my knee, but more of the anguish and frustration that I was feeling.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Bartley Young Adults Ministry (@testify.a)

It was during my struggle and doubting that I started to receive text messages from my closest friends and my discipleship group leader, Shufen, who checked in on me and asked for my prayer requests.

I was feeling really down and bitter, and did not want to share my struggles. But I was encouraged knowing that people back home were thinking of me and asking how I was.

After hearing their words of support and knowing that I had so many family and friends praying for me, it really reminded me of God’s promises and that I was not alone.

Even though I was still unable to walk on the first day of my race and the pain was still quite significant, the amazing thing was that the wind was super light on that day.

(Some background: The wind in Oman had been consistently strong in the afternoons. Strong winds are very demanding and that would have put my knee in a very precarious position.)

That allowed me to have more control over my sail and board despite my injury and complete both races!

Photo from SingaporeSailing’s Facebook page.

Subsequently, over the next few days, although I was still in a lot of pain, I was able to build my confidence on the water. I could manage even the days with stronger winds, and eventually started to race proper and fight back.

What gave me the strength was knowing that God is sovereign and He upholds me. Even during my races I remember constantly crying out to God, asking for strength and help to get through the races.

Every morning, I would listen to worship songs to calm my nerves. One of those that really encouraged me was “Yet Not I but Through Christ in Me”.

With hindsight, I realised that God was looking out for me all along.

Athletes in Action: What should a Christian sportsperson look like?

Firstly, He sent me on the trip with this particular coach who actually experienced the same thing with his ankle while competing a few years back (he could not walk and was on crutches). This gave me the confidence that he knew how to deal with the situation I was in, and that it was still possible for me to compete!

God also placed so many wonderful people around me. The volunteers and hotel staff were so helpful in pushing me around on the wheelchair and helping me get whatever I needed (medication, ice, food, etc).

It was also by God’s provision that a very experienced physiotherapist who was part of the Oman team came forward to treat and tape my knee, going out of his way to fit me into his schedule without asking for anything in return.

And of course, knowing that the whole Bartley Christian Church community, my discipleship group, my friends and family were all standing with me in prayer really made me feel like I was not alone and encouraged me greatly.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Bartley Young Adults Ministry (@testify.a)

I am thankful for this entire experience — it has really made God’s faithfulness and goodness so apparent to me.

It challenged me to put my faith and trust in the Lord, even when I was just filled with doubts.

It has taught me that even though we have no answers as to why God allows some things to happen, God is working even in our waiting for His glory and purposes.

I am in awe of His love and goodness, having seen me through such a challenging week. It’s truly only by His grace that I completed the race and won the spot for the Tokyo Olympics!

Amanda completed Race 10 to 12 earlier today, scoring 260 net points and finishing in 26th position.

She will not progress to the medal race, but we want to congratulate her for such a tremendous achievement and for inspiring us with her story of faith! 

This article has been edited for brevity and the original post can be found here.

THINK + TALK

  1. Why can we trust God even when we face trials?
  2. Where have you seen God’s provision recently?
  3. What can you be thankful for today?