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From wushu totouch rugby, Natalie has always been a sporty girl. A newly graduate from HwaChong institution she also has her brains to back her up. However, making thejump and decision from a solo fighting sport to a team sport was not easy forher. She’s a lean,mean, killing machine. Competing in wushu since she was 9, she’d probably beable to kick your ass in her sleep. At 19, Natalie Ong has not only competed inmany local yearly interschool competitions but she’s even stepped on theinternational stage, competing in the Huangshan world wushu championships andthe Asean school games in 2014. Accepted in one of Singapore’s top secondaryschools, Nanyang Girls high school using her skills in wushu through the directschool admission and most recently just graduated from Hua Chong Institution,Natalie is an all-rounder. Wushu fighteror touch rugby player, Natalie had to make a choice.

Conflicted because of herinjuries from wushu and a spiked interest in trying team sports, she had a hugedecision to make. “Training was alot about having the discipline and mental strength because at times, it getsreally tough.” Natalie said. Her trainings often lasted a good five hours andwould often leave her body feeling sore and tired, but Natalie never gave upand pushed through even the most hectic trainings.

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“She’s always been veryresilient” said Shameelia, Natalie’s friend from wushu, “That’s something Ireally admire about her.” Being soinvolved in wushu, it came as a shock when she had a change of heart. “Istopped wushu because I wanted to get a sense of a team sport and also becauseof past injuries” Said the Hua Chong student. Introduced totouch rugby through her wushu mates who’d also left the sport. She spent herholidays joining them during their open trainings.

“I like touch rugby becauseof the warm and friendly ambience. Touch rugby is played by people of all ages,some starting at the age of six to seven and some playing till they are fortyto fifty, and of all races as well.” Said the newly graduate. “It is a sportthat brings people with different backgrounds together and I like that a lot” In contrast,these two sports are very different, with one focusing more on fighting solo,the fundamentals of touch rugby is team play. Instead of fighting in martialarts, touch rugby is a much less contact sport, which reduces the chances ofinjuries during the game. This made touch rugby seem like a perfect fit forNatalie. From justjoining some friends playing touch rugby during her holidays, to deciding totake the sport seriously, it was a huge jump for Natalie. Doing a solo sportfor so long, transitioning to a sport with more interaction and teammates wasforeign ground to her.

“it’s about having ultimate trust in your teammates andhaving all of your attention diverted to scoring the winning try. It should beabout finding the ‘in-zone” whereby you can block out all distractions andfocus on your passes, drives and runs, leaving everything on the field.”  Pressure oftenruns high during competitions, especially for a ‘newbe’ in the sport, butNatalie didn’t shy away from competing. She trained hard to be just as good asher teammates and formed close friendships with them. Through this strongsupport system of her team, coaches and family, she competed in many crucialmatches and big competitions in Singapore. An ‘A’ student,juggling school life and sports was never a struggle for this 19-year oldall-rounder.

Ensuring that her trainings never clashed with her classes, shealways makes sure to finish all her work before her trainings. Even when herschedule is crazy, prioritising work has always been important to her.  In the uncommoninstances that she has free time, Natalie enjoys spending it with her family.”It’s always so hectic for me so I just like time to myself and my family tounwind and just relax.” She said.  Being a socialbutterfly, Natalie also has many friends from school, wushu and touch rugby.She shares many of these moments of competing and just hanging out with herfriends on social media.

With a following of 2,108, she’s also an avid socialmedia user.  While thejourney to the switch from wushu to touch rugby hasn’t been easy, Natalie saysthat she’s glad that she did it.  “Wushu willalways be a huge part of me because of how hard I trained and because of thefriendships.

” She said. “I still think about wushu at times but I am glad thatI made the decision to go on to touch rugby because it is something I havegrown to love.”                        

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