After winning his first overseas competition (the silver medal), Jovin Tan discovered that sailing is a sport he was going to put everything in.
Since then, Jovin has competed in the Asian Para Games, played in the Paralympics four times, and became the first certified Sailing Coach with a disability in Singapore. As a sportsman diagnosed with cerebral palsy, he continues to prove that his disability stands in no way of living life to the fullest. An Executive Assistant for a recruitment company by day, and a coach to para-sailors by the weekends, Jovin is a go-getter who embraces the thrill of life.
Jovin credits his main source of motivation to the challenges he has faced along the way of his sailing journey. With his mother holding two jobs and often working on the weekends, it was tough for her to witness his competitions and wins in person. Jovin’s solution to that? Bring home the medal to share the joy. At the same time, sailing was also what got him through the various challenges he had had in life. Where he initially struggled with the relationship he had with his brother and sister, their volunteering under a sailing program organised by the Singapore Disability Sports Council (and supported by the Changi Sailing Club) helped build understanding for Jovin’s disability and pulled the siblings closer together — to the extent of being support team members for Jovin’s weekend training and caregivers when he competes overseas. Sailing also served as a source of comfort as it allowed him to escape the pressure of his father who could not accept his son’s physical difference.
Jovin’s outstanding sailing journey is also not complete without the people he has met along the way. Meeting overseas para sailors kickstarted his role as a coach, as it pushed him to appeal with the Marine Port Authority of Singapore to allow people with disability to obtain the Powered Pleasure Craft Driving License (PPCDL), a licence needed for becoming a sailing coach. His sailing coaches, Edward Yow and the late Mr Lock Hong Kit, were also key figures in Jovin’s appreciation for the sport and life, imparting nuggets of wisdom like the notion to not let his disability become an excuse.
Jovin’s achievements and confidence all started when he challenged the difficult. As he so aptly puts it, “you will never know if you never try.”
(Photo Credit: Singapore Disability Sports Council)
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