Kuek Tian Yuan, a front man with KL Dragons and Malaysia’s National Basketball Team, has been playing in Kuala Lumpur for nearly 10 years now. Originally from Johor, he holds a forward position in both teams. “Although I started out with football, my full focus is now on basketball,” he says.
He turned professional in 2010 and scored his first championship with the 2010 NBL League. In 2015, Kuek and the KL Dragons led Malaysia to the silver ranking in the final standings of the FIBA Asia Championship. Kuala Lumpur 2017 will be his fourth SEA Games.
Apart from that, the Under Armour-sponsored athlete is currently part of the national team in the Asean Basketball League as well. “The shoes are perfect for basketball players because of the bounce-back effect. We run and jump almost all the time, and that puts a lot of pressure on our feet, ankles and knees. These shoes minimise the impact on our feet,” he says.
As Kuala Lumpur 2017 draws ever closer, Kuek shares his gameplay on how he’s planning to add more silverware to his trophy cabinet.
Train Like A Professional
I train twice a day, five days a week. On Wednesday and Friday mornings, I usually hit the gym. These sessions are all basketball-related to allow me to work on my strength and stamina. I try not to take too much time off as catching up can be difficult. I notice a steady decline in my stamina if I stop exercising. When I’m on a long holiday, I’ll go shoot some hoops to maintain my fitness levels.
Put Your Health Before Anything Else
On a typical day, I start training in the morning, go for lunch, and get some rest before the next training session begins. When I’m not training, I make it a habit to spend time with my wife and friends. We usually go to the movies or catch up over a yumcha session. Playing video games relaxes my mind too. I find real joy in gaming; it’s like I’m in another world. I think it’s really important to distract yourself with things that make you happy when you’re feeling the pressure.
Eat Loads But Burn Plenty
I consume a high carbohydrate and high protein diet as I burn a lot of calories during training. I don’t follow a strict diet. I just make sure that I don’t consume too much junk food. I also try to eat a lot of dairy products like milk. Most importantly, I drink lots of water.
Live A Happier Life
It’s difficult to make a career out of sports in Malaysia. It’s true that we can’t live a great life without good money, but you need to do what you love as well while you still can. What’s the point of earning good money when you don’t like your job? You will be stuck for a lifetime. So while you are young and still have the energy, go for what you love to do first, especially if it’s in sports. When you pass a certain age, you won’t be able to represent the country anymore if you want a career in sports.
Grab The Opportunity To Do What You Love
Opportunities always present themselves; it’s up to you to grab them. It’s very important to work hard in your chosen field and be dedicated to what you do. It took me almost 10 years to get to where I am now. When it’s time for me to stop, I will know that I’ve done what I love and I’ll be ready to take my next step – which is finding a job that pays more based on my experience.