Shaheed displaying his forehand prowess as he receives a ball in mid-flight. | Photo: Shaheed Alam
What’s a professional sportsman to do when most sports have come to a standstill during this pandemic? Team Singapore tennis player Shaheed Alam turned his on-court passion into an off-court desire to help the needy.
In 2015, Shaheed became the first Male player to win an ITF junior singles title at the age of 17. Subsequently, he even partnered world-renowned female tennis player Maria Sharapova in a mixed doubles exhibition match!
Winning hearts on and off the court
When the Circuit Breaker happened, Team Singapore athletes were forced to come up with creative ways to train. Shaheed, now 22, also saw this as a golden opportunity to help the less fortunate.
He founded Project Love-All, which aimed to provide meals to our migrant workers during the weekend of Hari Raya.
“They were the most badly hit group of people in Singapore and I felt that they needed some support. After all, they are the hands that built the roofs over our heads,” says Shaheed. “We raised a total of $7,460 which fed over 900 migrant workers. With the support of Active SG Tennis Academy and Foodbank Singapore, it was a huge success!”
Of course, Shaheed didn’t leave out the tennis community (which to him is akin to family), and was also part of “Wheels Up! Serving Against Covid-19”. Together with former national cyclist turned tennis coach Nasrom Abdullah and the Malay Sports Association, they raised funds (about $3,700) for tennis coaches and their families.
Bouncing back from unexpected obstacles
Being an athlete during Covid-19 certainly brings about new challenges. However, Shaheed has maximised his time efficiently.
“Circuit Breaker was especially bad when we couldn’t train and compete; it was quite tough for me as I was looking forward to playing full-time, having graduated in March. I did what I could and kept myself fit by doing cardio at home.”
Continuing to pursue his goals
In the near future, this Singaporean son will be enlisting for National Service in October. He admits that while it will be difficult to maintain his tennis regimen, he is determined to excel. Shaheed plans to continue playing competitive tennis during and after NS.
“Representing Singapore has and will always be a huge honour and privilege for me, I hope I can still continue to do that for many more years to come.”