Racquet Dreams

A love for the game of squash propelled Celine Yeap, a young, vibrant teenager to achieve greater heights.

It all started with a racquet.

Celine Yeap Shu Wan was four years old when she began accompanying her father to his squash practices. During their breaks, she would pick up his racquet and swing it around.

After noticing her talent on court, her father enrolled her for classes at the Squash Academy of Penang, which was then newly established, where she quickly flourished. Celine started out with a weekly class, but quickly progressed to twice then thrice a week before being regularly selected to play in tournaments at the tender age of eight. She participated in her first international tourney in Hong Kong a year afterward.

She has never looked back since.
Squash has certainly opened doors for the vibrant 18-year-old Penangnite, who got to play the 2011 World Juniors at the prestigious Harvard University.

"I got to travel a lot, see and experience a lot of stuff which aren't things what a normal teenager would experience," She says.

Things have not always been smooth sailing, as she says that it was quite difficult balancing the gruelling training hours and academics.

"Getting my priorities right was hard, because I needed to know when to focus on studies and when to focus on squash," she says.

"Last year, I missed about one and a half months of school before my SPM trials for a tournament," she explains. "I came home four days before my exams and failed Physics."
Things turned out all right in the end, as the youngster later scored straight A's in her SPM examinations.

Her most defining moment, however, came when her team won gold at the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing last year.

"It was my first multi-sport event," she explains. "It was also my first time singing the national anthem on the podium, I almost cried!"

A bigger adventure now lies the horizon, as she has recently been accepted into the prestigious Yale University, where she hopes to pursue studies in international relations.
Aside from her daily two-hour practices, Celine also enjoys relatively simple things such as reading and displays an interest in politics and cites Emma Watson as an inspiration. When asked about her avid interest in TV Dramas and Singaporean actress Rui En, she started laughing.

"She the only girl I watch," she proclaims proudly. "She's such a versatile actress and puts a lot of effort into her acting, it's like you can actually relate to what her character is feeling."
Other than her many varied interests, Celine also dreams of working for the United Nations as an ambassador one day.

"I would love a job with a lot of travel for meetings and conferences, any multi-national corporation."

However, she is quick to clarify that squash remains her first love.
"But I would also like to earn a personal trainer professional qualification though, for myself and also as a part-time job maybe."

"I definitely did not expect myself to come this far," she admits modestly. "But then I felt that everything just went right. Squash taught me to be self-disciplined, and the importance of hard work though it may not get you the results you want. But as I grow, I realized that it's not so much about the results or the process."

"You gotta enjoy it or else you're screwed," she laughs.

As far as it seems, she seems to be enjoying herself very much.
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