When Nur Insyirah Khan was in Primary 1, she joined a badminton tournament but lost in the first round of the competition.
That defeat did not dampen her interest in the sport. Instead, it sparked the start of the Singapore Sports School student’s journey towards representing Singapore in the ASEAN Schools Games.
The 16-year-old’s badminton dream began from home, where her father, Mr Hamid Khan, introduced her to the sport.
Since then, there was no looking back. Mr Hamid, a former national shuttler, coached Insyirah throughout primary school. Even though Insyirah trains at Singapore Sports School now, Mr Hamid still offers support, through catching up about badminton and sending messages of encouragement before competitions.
“When I attend competitions, my mother would record videos of the matches. My father would watch them and tell me how I can improve my game-play,” explains Insyirah.
‘Fire’ in pursuing passion
While Mr Hamid does whatever he can to support his youngest child’s aspirations, he candidly admits that he does not take the soft approach, even though Insyirah has proven her mettle.
“I’m very hard on my children,” the father of three shares. “I compare Insyirah with other international players of her age. I hope that she can compete internationally and be better than me. I’ve had no problems with coaching Insyirah though - she has the ‘fire’ in pursuing her passion.”
However, Mr Hamid explains that it is not about chasing after stellar results in the badminton court, but about going all out to chase one’s dreams.
“To me, winning is a bonus - if she played her best but lost the game, it just means that the opponent was better,” says Mr Hamid. “Rather, I want her to pursue what she wants and not just do it half-heartedly, but make the effort to fight for it.”
For Insyirah, having parental support has helped her to go a long way in her sporting journey.
“Since young, my father placed great emphasis on basic skills in badminton, such as the strokes,” she shares. “My father is quite strict with training but that’s because he has a lot of passion in badminton and he wants me to do my best.”
Insyirah hopes to go even further and has her sights set on competing in the international arena. “I hope to represent Singapore in the SEA Games, and the next thing I hope to achieve is to qualify for the Olympics,” she shares.