They are your everyday Singaporeans, dealing with the demands of school and work. However, they all have something in common - their belief in the importance of fitness and staying healthy. Get to know them in our #featuredparticipant series here!
Daryl Chung: Overcoming adversity for the love of sport
If you have been a regular of Rovo’s daily WorkoutParty! sessions recently, you might have noticed an intimidating face with scruffy hair falling out of his headband signing up for many of the sessions. If you have, then you’ve met Daryl Chung, the current record holder of most number of WorkoutParty! sessions attended by a mile.
The Journey Begins
Behind that stern profile picture is a gentle giant whose love for sports (especially Basketball) keeps bringing him back to the game. As a young child, the odds were already stacked against Daryl. “I was born with flat feet, femoral retroversion, and childhood asthma. Not exactly the tools you’d need to excel physically. But even against these odds, I still managed to have a strong affinity with sports, and it’s been a helluva ride so far,” said Daryl.
Daryl started playing basketball at 12 years old, and he was determined to succeed in the sport. “I was so obsessed with trying to excel that I took on additional training with the school’s track & field (high jump) team for 3-months in secondary school, just so that I could complete my first dunk. I was approximately 178cm tall back then, and a bonus from doing all the plyometrics & stretching was the ability to also perform a split. I did finally managed that dunk, in case you’re wondering,” quipped Daryl.
9 years of competitive basketball came next before tragedy struck in 2011. “I was about to ORD from NS when I sustained a Slap 2 Tear in my left shoulder that required surgery to repair,” said Daryl. The surgery and severe nature of the injury took almost a year of physiotherapy to aid recovery, and during that time, different priorities began to kick in for Daryl.“Injury aside, I took a 4-year hiatus from sports and fitness between 2013-2017, due to spending a year abroad in Sweden, and focussed on building my fledgeling career afterwards.” said Daryl on why sports took a back seat for him.
Photo: Daryl in his previous job as Project Director at e27
The Failed Return to the Game
“Basketball is in my blood. It is my obligation to try.” Hakeem Olajuwan
In 2017, after a few years of working, the basketball bug came back to bite Daryl and he wanted to get back to playing competitively again. “ I was given the opportunity to participate in Oldham Basketball, an alumni basketball team & community from my alma mater. However, by this time, I was obese and out of shape and injuries struck again,” lamented Daryl. In the process of coming back, due to his added weight, Daryl injured both his knees, sustaining a meniscus tear in his left knee and a patellar tendon tear on his right knee. Once again, he was forced to take another unfortunate break from sports.
2020 - A New Beginning and then COVID-19 hit.
With a new year comes a new beginning and that was what Daryl had planned till COVID-19 hit us. “At the start of 2020, I reactivated my gym membership in an attempt to clock 2-3 times/week of strength training and cardio. I also had plans to get started with Yoga as I was inspired by a lot of my basketball seniors, who swear by its efficacy in injury prevention and longevity in competitive sports. I was beginning to build momentum and then COVID-19 and Circuit Breaker hit us,” said Daryl
A Blessing in Disguise
“Everything negative - pressure, challenges - is all an opportunity for me to rise.” Kobe Bryant
“The Circuit Breaker has been tough on all fronts - work, family, and personal. Probably the biggest “who moved my cheese” moment in life so far. Still, I wanted to continue my fitness journey,’ said Daryl. In a stroke of good luck, Daryl saw a post by Jeffrey Paine, from Golden Gate Ventures, about WorkoutParty! by Rovo. He had heard of Rovo before in 2018 having met Rovo CEO, Ritesh Angural at an NUS Overseas Alumni gathering. Ritesh had also tagged him on Facebook regarding a free workout session due to take place that evening on Rovo and that was how Daryl started his first WorkoutParty! Session.
Since then, Daryl has been a regular on the WorkoutParty! Scene. “WorkoutParty! has been nothing short of awesome so far! For one, it’s motivated me to start exercising consistently during the circuit breaker period. The sessions occur daily, during the same time slots, and have a fixed duration of 30mins, which makes it easy for me to fit around my work schedule and into a personal routine. I never imagined that working out from home can be social, fun, and effective at the same time. This, in my opinion, is a timely pivot on Rovo’s part, given the escalation of the pandemic. Even though we’re allowed to exercise outdoors during the circuit breaker period, I am refraining myself from stepping out of the house as I don’t want to bring any risk back to my parents, who’re both in the vulnerable age group,” said Daryl.
While the circuit breaker is keeping him and his girlfriend physically apart because they don’t live in the same residence, WorkoutParty! has also served as a novel way for them to continue exercising together, virtually. A couple activity they used to do together pre-circuit breaker.
So what’s next for Daryl in his Fitness Journey?
“There’s still a yearning that exists deep within that I will be able to return to competitive basketball for at least 1 more season before I turn 40. But for now, my fitness goals for this year is to get my weight down by 5kg, don’t break any more body parts, and being able to fit in my old pants size,” said Daryl with a smile.
Any last words to our readers and people out there fighting Covid-19?
“There is more to life than basketball. The most important thing is your family and taking care of each other and loving each other no matter what.” Stephen Curry
“In the spirit of #SGUnited, I hope everyone can continue to stay safe & vigilant by acting in accordance with the advisories and regulations by the multi-ministry task force. My heart goes out to the medical staff who’re fighting the invisible enemy at the frontlines, as well as the essential workers who’re keeping Singapore’s economy going. So do your part, stay healthy, stay safe, and stay at home. And if you have some time, download Rovo and sign up for the Workoutparty! sessions with me! With that, #darylout”
Thank you, Daryl, for sharing so much of your life story with us. You can follow Daryl on his inspirational fitness journey by joining him on one of Rovo’s daily WorkoutParty! Sessions on the Rovo App.