CrossFit: Singaporeans Ian Wee and Landy Eng to compete at CrossFit Games in the US

SINGAPORE – Medical student Ian Wee used to have a cup of bubble tea every day, but has cut that out for several months now.

“My dietitian gives me a specific meal plan. She tells me what to eat exactly… how many grams of oats, broccoli or green peppers,” the 24-year-old told The Straits Times in a recent interview.

The change in diet was necessary as Wee is gearing up for the global CrossFit Games from Aug 1-4 in Madison, Wisconsin.

He and CrossFit coach Landy Eng are the first two Singaporeans to make the annual competition since Chew Feng Yi in 2009.

They qualified after beating 272 male and 133 female participants respectively to top the Singapore charts in the CrossFit Open, an online worldwide qualifier where participants complete five weekly workouts and get ranked.

While European, Scandinavian and American athletes used to dominate the qualification process in previous years, the format was tweaked this year such that the top male and female athlete of the Open from each country qualify for the global Games.

“When they announced the changes, I thought maybe I should try doing the (qualifiers) because there might be a chance for me to qualify,” said Wee, who first dabbled in CrossFit in 2013 before switching to weightlifting in 2016 when he was in Sydney for his medical studies.

He became serious with CrossFit again only after returning to Singapore last year.

Both he and Eng are sticking to a strict training regimen in the lead-up to the international meet, and had to strike a balance between training and their career or studies.

Former national dragon boat paddler Eng said: “I train from Sunday to Wednesday, Thursday is my active recovery day where I will go for a swim or run and training continues on Friday.

“Saturday is my day off.”

Wee follows a similar schedule and has hired a personal coach and dietitian based in Sydney, with whom he communicates online, to plan his training and diet programmes.

“When I first started out, my objective was to have fun. But then over time, I changed my mindset.

“I’m spending so much time and money…I will push myself,” said Wee, who added that the total cost to go to the Games is about $4,500 each.

Part of the expenses is covered by a fundraising campaign by CrossFit Mobilus and the duo will bear the rest of the costs.

While Eng can control her training and diet, she acknowledged that her size might put her at a disadvantage in the 134-strong women’s field.

“Asians are generally smaller…

“I’m not a very tall person, so some movements and heavyweight workouts are not to my advantage,” said Eng, who is 1.59m and 60kg.

Also, participants do not know what workouts they have to complete at the global meet until the competition day, so the Singaporeans have had to practise a myriad of movements.

Still, Wee is determined to go all out at the Games.

He said: “This is a golden opportunity…I will do my best.”

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