NATIVE X LOCAL (Singapore Edition)

Kayaking with Jonathan Chong

This new edition to our #nativexlocal series features an interview with Jonathan Chong as he shares more about his kayaking training. 

As a national canoeist, Jonathan Chong has steered his kayak through some of the choppiest waters amid unpredictable condition. Jonathan picked up canoeing in Junior College and have been doing it ever since. He started training with the National team since August 2012 and was recently part of Team Singapore in the 28th SEA Games this year.  We caught up for a chat with Jonathan Chong a week before the 2015 Asian Canoeing Championships.


1.We heard that you are currently studying in NUS with a NUS sports scholarship for canoeing. Tell us more about it!

I’m a year 3 Business Student. I love school very much and I go there about twice a week because my favourite module happens to be by the name of “Skipping Classes”. Loljk I do go for my classes but I gotta plan my schedule carefully so that I have time to breathe amidst my hectic schedule.

2.When/How did you fall in love with canoeing/kayaking?

I started when I was 17, which was considered quite late. It was when  I just followed my friends to a tryout and basically i started out because of the company. As time went by, I got better and started to like it more.

I also chose it because I hate running and everything else seemed to have a component of that. But I soon realise that I have to run during training too so that was pretty disappointing.

3.What is your training like?

I train 10 times a week and each session last about 2 hour. We basically paddle, do weights and many other forms of cross training such as swimming and spinning.

We practice on the water; for me it can last anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on the workout session and time of year.

My favourite part of training is called R.E.S.T (Geddit?)


4.How do you manage these demands?

I basically plan my own timetable and so I don’t choose classes or slots that clash with training.

However, I  do miss out on stuff outside because of school and training but I make sure I have some time to meet people!

5.How do you meet the demands of your sport with your diet?

Mmmm… I try to eat a balanced diet. Being able to eat delicious food is one factor which motivated me to train harder! NOMZ.. There is generally not much diet restrictions as long as I know my limit and eat in moderation.  Sometimes my coach will say no sugar,I follow his instructions most of the time. (Or do I not? haha).


6.What do you think is your most significant milestone and  greatest opportunity you had in your sport career?

Well, it was being able to represent Team Singapore in the 28th SEA Games this year as well as major games so it is definitely the highlight of my career. . I’m also looking forward to more games and championships in future. On the side note,  we qualified for final B category  in world championships 2014 in the k2 500m event! which was pretty unforgettable for me!

For my greatest opportunity, it was being able to train with the national team, under 2x World Champ Balazs Babella!

7.What do your plans for the future include?

Eat Cake, Puke Rainbow and Glitters. Hmm, I’m planning a study abroad for a semester during Spring in Slovenia and afterwards I’ll travel all around Europe then which I really stroke about it!  Long term plans include staying awesome and cool, haha.

8.Any funny stories during training?

I can’t say it because you gotta come and see us when we train 🙂


9.Do you have any hidden talent that others don’t know about?

Yeah, times are bad now so I don’t just work as Superman. I have other part-time jobs like being Spiderman and Power Ranger.(I design my own outfit with super heroes theme! I sent the blueprints I designed to my hungarian friend who print tights.)

I can’t reveal anymore or I’ll have to kill you if I tell you.

10. What are your advise for those who wish to pursue a sport career in canoeing?

Never give up and chase your dreams! A great deal of sacrifice is inevitable but it’ll be all worth it!



National Canoeing Championships:
2014 NCC k4 1000m 2nd
2014 NCC k4 500m 1st

Southeast Asian Canoeing Championships:
2014 SEACC k2 1000m 2nd
2014 SEACC k4 500m 3rd

World Championships:
2014 ICF World Championships k2 500m Final B 9th

South East Asian Games:

2015 SEAGames K4 1000m 4th


Follow Jonathan on Instagram!


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