THE iconic 1990s bowling queen and one of Singapore’s most prominent female athletes, Grace Young is the jack (or should that be Jill?) of many trades. She has been on television as a host for sports and entertainment programmes and reported on the Olympics Games in Atlanta.
Today, the 54-year-old #SportingStar continues to inspire us with her passion and talent. In an exclusive interview with Successful Ageing Singapore, Grace revealed three little known things about her.
Revelation #1: “Actually, bowling is not my favourite sport”
When setting up this interview, we were surprised by Grace’s eagerness to meet us at the tennis court instead of a bowling alley. Now we know why; tennis is her favourite sport.
“I started playing tennis when I was 15 years old. I even trained with former national tennis champion, Lim Phi Lan, for a while… but I stopped playing tennis for some 25 years when I started bowling.
So why did she choose bowling as her sporting career?
“Bowling is a sport that I have done very well in. I saw many opportunities when I picked it up at the age of 21. I realised I was able to go quite far with it. I was quite successful within the first six months, so I decided to continue and give it a shot.”
Revelation #2: “I’m all for helping children and the less-privileged to attend regular school”
Grace has a soft spot when it comes to helping children and championing causes for education. Her involvement in fundraising goes back to 1998 when she retired from bowling. She joined her friends to take part in a charity cycling tour in Thailand and since then, she has become an active fundraiser for several organisations. The latest charity she adopted is one that builds schools for displaced communities along the border of Myanmar and Thailand.
Grace said: “It is very exciting as we are helping a minority group to grow in a different way by supporting them in education. Some of the schools’ graduates have decided to return to their villages and be teachers.”
Revelation #3: “I am a full-fledged sports massage therapist”
It is a newly acquired skill which she is so excited about, more so as she is learning something new at 54. She explained her motivation to sign up for a full-time course in sports massage therapy last year.
“My friends, my 12-year-old son and I have all experienced injuries before. So, the idea of picking up a skill that could benefit my family and friends as well as enable me to provide them treatment was very exciting for me.
“Still, the learning curve was steep and it took a lot of encouragement and positive self-talk for me to take it up. In the end, I got through it and even passed with flying colours. The thing is – you’ll never know if you don’t try!” said Grace with a laugh.
From chasing her passion to helping others and embracing continuous learning, Grace’s courage to explore new paths in her life is indeed inspirational.
She added: “No matter which stage of our lives we’re at, I think it’s important for us to continue to be interested in everything that is going on around us. That is successful ageing to me.”
Read our previous #SportingStar story on Mr C. Kunalan: A sporting love story - Mr and Mrs C. Kunalan