A Stroke of Greatness: Aisyah

Leanne Yenush

As a 2016 Olympian, Aisyah knows the hard work and dedication that it takes to reach the Rio. Learn more about her experience training for the Olympics and what it meant to be there. 

Tell us a bit about your journey to the Olympics, what was that like? 

My journey to Rio was challenging – it felt like I hit a roadblock at every turn. But with every race, I was getting better and better. When I hit a financial obstacle, my Olympic dream felt like it was getting further and further away. Thankfully, my support system wouldn’t let me stop so I began a crowdfunding campaign. I was blown away by the overwhelming support, and was able to continue my rigorous training in Australia. 

Without the people in my life – my family, friends, coaches, and supporters, I would not be Singapore’s first Olympic rower. I am immensely grateful. 

What type of work went into where you are today?

Crazy, hard work of not only myself but also my coach and the people who supported me along the way. Lots of moments where I was taking leaps of faith, stepping out of comfort zones and trusting the process. Lots of those quote-worthy moments. Scary, but worth it. Absolutely worth it.

What was it like being an Olympian?

I love the fact that the chance of being an Olympian in an average life is significantly less than 1%. I love beating the odds. I strive to embody the Olympic value of excellence and aim to pursue excellence not only in my sport but in life as well. But most of the time, being an Olympian is just the same as being like anyone else… We are just a little more obsessed with our sport!

What does that mean to you to have represented Singapore on the international stage? 

When I used to go overseas to represent my country, it was often just me and my coach. I realized that, as the saying goes, it is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog. I feel like I embody Singapore – “small,” but feisty. 

What is the most important lesson you learned from competing at  the highest level? 

That the Olympics was just 2 weeks of my life. The most important part was the 11 years of training that went into reaching the 2 weeks in Rio. 

What’s your personal motto? 

Always aim to be a better person.

-- Learn more about Aisyah here, follow her on Instagram here, and learn a bit more about her workout style here.