“Tchouk, tchoukball? You choke the ball inside ah?”, Lim Poh Han pointed to his throat as he described his first reaction when he heard of the sport four years ago.
Later on, it would be this new and unique sport that helped in transforming this ex-gangster’s life.
The 17-year-old vice-captain of Team Mustang was one of over 200 participants at the tchoukball competition of W.A.D! Games, held at the indoor stadium hall of Raffles Institution on 14 July 2012. His team was 2nd runner-up in the under-18(men) category.
In the past, he had a string of discipline problems. “I used to be a gangster. I would smoke, drink, break into the school,” Poh Han said. He even stole cash cards and laptops.
In 2009, he was referred to Youth Guidance Outreach Services (YGOS), a youth services organisation. That is where he picked up the sport of tchoukball and dropped some of his bad habits.
“After playing tchoukball, I became less arrogant. I decided to smoke less because of the sport, because we wanted to train for the nationals.” He also drinks “a lot less” these days, especially after he saw how his performance dropped sharply when he went drinking before a tchoukball game in March this year.
Having played the sport for four years, he finds that playing tchoukball helps him to control his anger and become more disciplined. His family has also seen the change in him. Not everyone thought he would change though.
When asked how he would complete the sentence “Who says I can’t be a ________?” (seen on the T-shirts of the volunteers at WAD! Games), he admits that people have said discouraging words to him before, telling him that he cannot change for the better.
“Some of my friends said that it was too late to change. I want to prove them wrong. I don’t want to let them have the wrong impression.”
While waiting to enter ITE, he now works part-time at Settler’s Café and as a tchoukball coach at Assumption Pathway School.
He may well continue working as a tchoukball coach for a long time.
“I will play tchoukball until the day I cannot play.”
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