The Tan brothers train together and cross the finish line together

The Tan brothers train together and cross the finish line together

West Island School's James and Matthew Tan have high hopes for their triathlon careers

sporttriathlon.artghuho81e.1wistriathlonbrothersmatthew1rev.jpg

Matthew Tan (centre) hopes to represent Hong Kong at a professional level.
Matthew Tan (centre) hopes to represent Hong Kong at a professional level.
Photo: West Island School

sporttriathlon.artghuho81e.1warninglowresimagewistriathlonbrothersbrotherstr.jpg

Matthew and James tan compete in a triathlon in Hong Kong.
Matthew and James tan compete in a triathlon in Hong Kong.
Photo: West Island School

It takes hours of hard training to become the best in a sport. But just imagine how much more it takes to become the best in three sports.

Brothers James and Matthew Tan, of West Island School, have done just that by winning triathlons for the past few years. Triathlon involves swimming, cycling, and running.

James, 17, recently qualified for the Hong Kong ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup, while 15-year-old Matthew won the 2015 Festival of Sport Triathlon in the Youth Open Category.

For both brothers, swimming was the first step. "I have been swimming since I was very little ... as soon as I could walk," says Matthew. His older brother James began competing in aquathons eight years ago, and started triathlon training three years ago.

Excelling in three sports means more training and more challenges.

James didn't let his age or size become a problem, he just trained harder. Photo: West Island School

"When I started [triathlons] I always used to be the smallest and the youngest," says James. His size and age meant he had to work harder to hold his own while competing. "I used to be pushed and shoved in races because I wasn't as strong as the other boys."

James had to learn to adapt, and overcome the hurdles through intensive training. "My favourite thing in triathlon is the training," he admits. "I enjoy training because of the people I train with and the social aspect that comes with it."

And now the biggest threat he faces in the sport isn't older or stronger competitors - it's his younger brother Matthew. "I know he is a good athlete and we have similar speeds in running," says James. And in their first race against each other in the New World International Triathlon 2013, James felt he had to work even harder than usual. "I was scared he would be drafting [following closely behind a competitor] me, then beat me in the run," he admits. James ended up coming first, followed by Matthew.

Both boys have high hopes for their triathlon careers. James has his sights set on the Olympics, and wants to be number one in Asia, while Matthew hopes to represent Hong Kong at a professional level.


Bench Notes

What song/movie title best describes you when you're taking part in your sport?
Matthew: Fast and Furious 

If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use it? 
Matthew: Teleportation. I would go all over the world and see my friends who live in different countries that I haven't seen for a long time.
James: The ability to breathe underwater. I would use this power to clear up all the rubbish in the sea because I want to swim in cleaner water and I want to protect the local marine life.

If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
James: Food, because I am always hungry!

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Three cheers for two brothers

Comments

To post comments please
register or