On the day Dipna Lim Prasad was born, 7th June 1991, Mount Pinatubo, a volcano in the Philippines, burst into life for the first time ever, and that nation hasn’t been the same since. The same could be said for the sport of international track and field when a Singaporean wonder woman came into the world on that very day: Despite injury and setbacks, Dipna Lim Prasad’s accomplishments are Herculean, which is why Singapore was proud to cheer her on as a member of its 2012 Summer Olympics team. She competed in 100-metre hurdle events, but some of the hurdles she has faced since then will impress you more, because Dipna is a powerful example of someone who doesn’t know the meaning of quitting. Look for her as a 2015 NIKE-sponsored athlete at SEA Games—29th May to 16th June—and if you spot her, it’s never too early or late to wish her Happy Birthday!
RS: Dipna, how did you get into track running events?
Dipna: The same way many girls do; I joined the Track and Field CCA when I attended St. Nicholas Girls School. Truth be known, I loved the sport of running years before I attended primary school. I also liked to play catch with friends at a neighbourhood playground as a child, so I suppose you could say that I loved all types of athletics at an early age.
RS: We understand that you’ve suffered injuries of late. How is your recovery coming along?
Dipna: Unfortunately, I suffered several different leg injuries, so it’s been frustrating. After I was injured the first time, my body began to compensate, so when my right leg couldn’t take much impact, my left leg assumed the weight load. With my left leg more vulnerable to sustaining an injury, that’s exactly what happened.
RS: Did you have to stop training completely after each of these injuries?
Dipna: No, I’ve continued to train as part of my rehabilitation program, but I’m taking everything at a slow and steady pace. There’s nothing like being injured a few times to teach one lessons in patience and resilience!
RS: As a Singapore representative at the upcoming SEA games, have you felt a huge amount of pressure to perform well? How do you handle that pressure?
Dipna: Like many serious athletes, the biggest amount of pressure I experience usually comes from myself. I want to do well for Singapore; make my countrymen and countrywomen proud! Ultimately, the medal standing is out of my control. I train as hard as I can, hoping that my best is good enough, since that’s all I can give.
RS: Do you have a favourite training venue in Singapore?
Dipna: Yes. I train at Kallang Practice Track, also called the Home of Athletics.
RS: Can you share with our readers your weekly training schedule?
Dipna: I’ve been training between six and seven days a week for three to six hours each day. These sessions range from running short sprints to long runs and I undertake the rehabilitation exercises I mentioned earlier, in addition to doing some strength training.
RS: Who inspires you most, and what motivates you when times get tough?
Dipna: I draw inspiration from everyone I meet. Today, it could be my partner who didn’t skip his training just because he got off a plane from a long flight. Tomorrow it could be the 89-year-old man I met who impressed me because he walks 8km daily to maintain his good health. As for motivation, all I have to do is look around at the talented women representing Singapore at athletic endeavours and I’m motivated.
RS: Speaking of women, as a NIKE-sponsored athlete, what’s your opinion about the brand’s latest women’s initiative, #betterforit?
Dipna: I think this campaign is amazing because it is so real and all women can relate to it. The #betterforit initiative brings to light the struggles all women face when we exercise and compete—as if just getting to the starting line wasn’t the hardest accomplishment part of all!
RS: What has been your most memorable #betterforit moment?
Dipna: Winning the Bronze medal at the 2013 SEA Games stands out in my mind because this was the first time a medal was awarded to a female athlete in 34 years—that’s before I was even born! That breakthrough moment was shared with everyone who loves sport and I hope that setting that precedent also broke a mental barrier of sorts for women athletes—that it will result in more medals for women at this year’s SEA Games.
RS: The #betterforit campaign offers athletes inspiration to reach new heights collectively. What are the new #betterforit challenges and personal goals you will aim for in the future?
Dipna: As you can imagine, I’ve had a trying, challenging time of it due to injuries that resulted in my missing the Commonwealth Games in 2014, and now I’m dealing with injuries again, but I’m undaunted. My goal is to become injury free and set a new national record at the June SEA Games. If that national record leads me to a position on the podium—well, that will be the icing on my birthday cake!
Dipna Lim Prasad has more national track and field competition records than most, but she’s not beyond lending her name to causes and campaigns that bolster the spirits of Singaporean athletes as she pushes past the pain and refuses to let injuries define her. That alone makes Dipna a role model for us all and begs this question: When you’re confronted by an injury, what keeps you motivated to keep moving through the pain? Is it your own will or does someone else inspire you? Your pain is our gain if you share your inspiring thoughts with us!
NIKE #betterforit is more than just a hashtag. It’s a call to action to share, promote and embrace women’s fitness and sports. #betterforit encourages female athletes around the world to share their personal #betterforit mission. Whether it’s a personal best in your latest marathon or a weekend run. Share with us your inspiration and experience!