Constantly Fighting On
Lessons From The Champions
20-year-old Constance Lien Tian-En has recently made heads turn in the sport industry as she has been stacking achievements one after another in a martial art sport known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Last year, she won the World Championship against strong international competitors and capped off the year with a Philippines 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medal.
Looking at her confidence and steely determination, one would not believe that Constance was a shadow of a current self just a few years ago. Formerly from the swimming academy, Constance’s struggles started when her performance in the pool was plateauing. As a swimmer with teenage insecurities, she was concerned about her weight and her self-esteem issues resulted in her having an eating disorder. It was a downward spiral from then as the disorder took over her mental and physical well-being. After months of battling it, Constance decided to make a change after she saw her mother, a former national swimmer, affected by her changes.
As part of her recovery process, she decided to take up Muay Thai with Evolve Mixed Martial Arts gym after she graduated from Singapore Sports School. Trying out Jiu-Jitsu was not part of her plan, mainly because the sport’s attire which looked like oversized pyjamas was unappealing to her. However, due to peer pressure, she decided to give it a go and it has led her towards a path of recovery and success. Constance’s new-found passion gave her a purpose in life, and helped her to feel stronger and empowered. Though her family was initially apprehensive as they were afraid of her getting hurt from the combat sport, her passion for the sport won them over. She trains multiple times a day, and gives her best at every training session. Her fighting spirit pushed her to achieve many “firsts” in just three years in the sport.
Constance returned to the Sports School to share her inspiring story of hard work and determination with current student-athletes recently as part of the Lesson From The Champions series. Her gentle disposition and sweet smile drew the interest of student-athletes who were curious how she manages to turn herself to a feisty and strong go-getter. She shared, “Champions are not made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them.” She shared a valuable takeaway with student-athletes: “Always be open to opportunities and lessons that come your way. And never put a limit to what you can do because you are so much more than you think.”
For her excellent showing in the last year, Constance has made it to the nomination list for The Straits Times’ Athlete of the Year award. As she graduated from the blue belt to the purple belt, she is currently working hard towards bringing home the coveted title for the purple belt at this year’s World Championships.