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Su Mingyan Landdis , "I fell in love with discus throwing because once familiarized, it feels like a spring being compressed and then releasing it at high speed. "

Written and compiled by Sha.

Name: Su Mingyan Landdis

Weight: 90kg

Height: 185cm

Date of Birth: 9th November 1989

Coach(es): Qu Zeng Chu, Max Chua, M.Rameshon, Tan Chong Kiat, Lawrence Ang

Field Personal Best(s): Discus (2kg) - 44.62m, Shotput (7.62m) - 12.19m

Track Personal Best(s): 400m - 52s (HT), 800m - 2:06, 1500m - 4:30, 2000m Steeplechase – 6:49.62, Half Marathon – 1:29.42, 2.4km – 7:44.

Best performances to date:

    2015 | SEA Games (Singapore) | Discus | 7th
    2014 | ASEAN University Games (Palembang) | Discus | 6th
    2012 | ASEAN University Games (Laos) | Discus | 5th

    2012 | Singapore National Games | Discus | Silver
    2015 | 77th Singapore Open Track & Field Championships | Discus | Bronze

    2015 | IVP Track & Field Championships | Discus | Gold (New Record)
    2015 | IVP Track & Field Championships | Shotput | Silver
    2014 | IVP Track & Field Championships | Discus | Silver
    2014 | IVP Track & Field Championships | Shotput | Silver
    2013 | IVP Track & Field Championships | Discus | Gold
    2013 | IVP Track & Field Championships | Shotput | 4th
    2009 | National Inter-School Track and Field Championships | Discus | Bronze

An athlete response to adversity is what defines the athlete. For Landdis Su Mingyan, his adversity came in the form of a knee injury that robbed much of his athletic career of his freshman year.

The then JC1 Landdis who was a distance runner for ACJC was faced with a fork in the road decision for his blossoming running career.

He turned that obstacle around by discovering his hidden talent in a whole new event, the discus throw, during his rehabilitative journey of trying to get his knee healthy again.

Landdis has finally found his niche, something he liked doing and has not stopped doing since.

Below is an extract of the interview:

    Q) How did you get started in athletics?

    I was a badminton player and started private training since I was 7 and had them till I was 12. When I was primary 6, my school PE HOD found out that I had superb stamina for a 12-year old through my NAFA 1.6km runs and asked me to train with the track team. I ran around the school for long distance training and took part in the national’s track and field competition.

    I placed 1st for the 1500m event and 6th for the 800m event. I also remember fainting for a while after I finished the 1500m race and my win threw all the other schools off guard because I did not compete in previous years. My competitor who came in 2nd even went to object my win because I was told that I was running in a zig-zag manner in the final stretch, probably because I was too exhausted. I too, did not even realise so. However, his appeal failed and I was declared victorious.

    Landdis Su
    Landdis during his running days. Image courtesy of Eunice Karina Fu

    After that, I went to The Chinese High School, back then when it was called so and continued my career in long distance running, including X-Country and track events of course. I have always placed top few positions in most of the races I competed in secondary school.

    Q) You have quite a unique athletics background. Started out as a tracker and now a thrower. How did that happen?

    I was 18 and JC 1 at ACJC. For the first year, I even came in 5th for the National Schools X-Country Race at Turf City, the fastest amongst the Anglo-Chinese schools. I also ran the 3000m Steeplechase and 1500m event for track.

    However, the following year I repeated my JC1 and encountered knee injuries which have been recurring since secondary school days. I guess it was due to the high mileage demanded from me during secondary school. It came to a point whereby I had to stop all running activities and was told to cycle at the gym.
    Determined not to stop any physical activities, I started experimenting with the weights in the huge ACJC gym. I started bulking and the track and field coach who is my coach now spotted me and told me to try throws.

    At first, everyone from track and field and X-country thought that the idea was absurd and the teacher-in-charge didn’t even register me for the discus event for nationals even though I was already throwing around 37m.

    The following year when I was in JC2, I took part in my first ever discus event for national schools and came in 3rd position, throwing everyone off guard yet again. I was told that my distance of 43.24m would have placed me 1st position in many years before that. My ex school teachers from all the other schools were also shocked at my achievement. I also remember throwing very well for the practice throws for that particular competition and died down to a jittery 37m for my first attempt. After which, I regained my poise and hurled a huge 43m in the 3rd or 4th throw which placed me 2nd then.

    I continued my throwing career since then and headed back to my alma mater for training even during army days. I have been training and competing till this date.

    Q) Why the discus throw? Why not shot put, or javelin? Why and how did you specialise in the discus.

    When my coach spotted me in high school, he made me try all three events. He said that I was too puny for shot put even though my height was adequate. For javelin, he commented that my shoulder joint was not flexible enough and I lack the explosive power in my arm. He decided that discus was most suitable for me as I had the height and some required flexibility.

    Landdis Su
    Landdis is a proficient in other field events too.

    Following my coach’s decision, I started discus training with him. Through hard work and discipline honed over the years of sports, I managed to pick up the essential techniques very quickly. This was also attributed to my coach’s ability. I fell in love with discus throwing because once familiarized, it feels like a spring being compressed and then releasing it at high speed. The flight of the discus also brings great pleasure. I guess this passion spurred me to greater heights.

    Q) Who is your coach, tell us more about him. Also a mention of your previous coaches.

    My coach is Coach Qu Zeng Chu. He was and still is the coach for ACJC’s throws team and is also in charge of the school’s gym. He was from Shanghai, China where he competed as a state discus and shot put thrower. He is an extremely kind, patient and loving, enduring hours in the hot sun despite his age so that his students can excel in throws. He will also occasionally buy me drinks and meals even though he already coaches me for free. He always try to turn up for my competitions to give me advices and moral support which I constantly need. He is the best coach I can ask for and I will forever be grateful for that.

    My previous coaches were Mr Max Chua from Woodlands Primary School, Mr M.Rameshon, Singapore Marathon event record holder, Mr Tan Chong Kiat from Victoria School and Mr Lawrence Ang from ACS(I).

    Q) Did you have any serious injury plaguing you before or currently? If you did, how did you overcame it.

    Apart from my knee injuries from running, I had two major injuries. The first was a week before my national school discus event whereby I pulled my back from a gym exercise. My coach was frantic and sent me to a Chinese Sinseh for treatment. Luckily, I managed to recover in time and compete in top form.
    The second injury was a few years ago where I attempted a personal best power clean of 140kg and failed, crushing both of my wrists. I visited a Chinese Sinseh and physiotherapist for rehabilitation. It took me months to almost half a year to completely recover. I put in a lot of effort doing physiotherapy myself as I was told that it will accelerate my recovery. It was devastating and a huge dip in a discus career. I remember requiring help opening doors and even switching on/off lights hurt a great deal.

    Landdis Su
    Landdis first love is the discus event.

    A few months back, I also had a slip disc scare but the doctor told me that it was just a back strain. I took my days off training and rested to recover. I have always been careful with warming up and proper exercise techniques but these incidents reinforced my need to be careful.

    Currently, I am injury-free and I am grateful for that.

    Q) Do you take care of your nutrition? Your opinion on supplements and food.

    Generally, I do not watch my diet. However, I tend to avoid extremely unhealthy food because I tend to feel sick eating too much of them. They are mainly very greasy, fried or heavily-flavoured ones. Having said that, being the sweet tooth I am, I indulge in supposedly sinful food like ice cream regularly.

    I try to maximise my protein intake and not allow the stomach to go hungry. Hunger is definitely not ideal for an athlete. My philosophy is that if you already put so much effort training, why waste it by going hungry and allow your body and your muscles to go through catabolism. Moreover, I am a hard gainer so I ensure that I eat enough. Aside from protein, I also ensure that I consume sufficient carbohydrates for me to endure my hours of hard training.

    As for supplements, I take protein, creatine and sometimes glucose for my training. I also take essential fish oils, multivitamins and HCL digestive tablets for general health and immunity. I believe that supplements are important not only to heighten performance but also for recovery, especially for athletes whose bodies are always undergoing tormenting training.

    Q) Aside from athletics, what else interest you? You could say the other part of your life beyond discus.

    I love Electronic Dance Music and have been following the genre for years, including their respective DJs. I also love patronizing cafes and tasting good food because I believe money should be spent on experiences. I have a liking for animals, especially dogs. I enjoy gaming from time to time. Fashion is also one of my hobbies. Other interests include travelling and watching movies. Sometimes, I also play my old sport, badminton.

    Q) How do you juggle studies and training at the same time? How do you find the balance? Do you work also part-time?

    Discipline is the key to juggling studies and training. I usually have my days planned out in a calendar so as to compartmentalize my activities. I try not to hang around in school doing nothing and head for training immediately after. I also try to make use of pockets of time such as reading notes while I am travelling. I believe that all these seemingly minute activities subsequently adds up to a great deal. We should make full use of them.

    Landdis Su
    Landdis has a personal best of 44.62 metres for the discus throw.

    Sometimes, when school gets a little too hectic, I will tone down my training and ensure that I deal with the key components while I spend more time dealing with school work. It is also important to cut down procrastination, which is by just getting yourself started with activities you need to do. From that point onwards, things will start to flow naturally.

    I give tuition on a constant basis, with lessons 5-10 times a week. Most of these lessons are cluttered during the weekends or weekday nights so that I can spend my afternoons training. Even though tuitions are considerably exhausting, I guess my passion for teaching prevails ultimately.
    I also participate in events for an events company from time to time. Roles include any ad hoc activities.

    Q) How’s the support from family and friends. In your opinion how important it is to athletes to have such a support?

    I don’t think I have much support from family and friends other than some funding for overseas competitions. I think it is actually very important for family and friends to support an athlete so that he/she can continue pursuing his/her passion in sports, especially in a financially-driven country such as Singapore, it is easier to be dissuaded from our personal goals to join the rat race instead.

    Q) Share with the readers, some aspects of your training

    Discus training is all-encompassing, contrary to popular beliefs. My gym routine consists of olympic lifts like the Clean & Jerk and Snatch. The big three exercises, namely benchpress, squats and deadlifts are also a large part of my routine. I also has varied weightlifting excerises which are specific for discus throwing. In the gym, the speed, repetitions and load are varied to target the different physical components of fitness. I try to hit the gym at least 3 times a week.

    Landdis Su
    Landdis representing the Republic at the SEA Games. He fnished 7th. Image courtesy of Red Sports.

    Apart from gym work, I also put a large focus on plyometric. I throw medicine balls of different masses in varied forms to work on explosiveness and strengthening of the core and other necessary muscle groups required for throwing. Additionally, I also perform different kinds of sprints and jumps. Similarly, I make sure that I incorporate these into my routine 3 times a week.

    Needless to say, I practice the discus throw itself to improve my technique and transfer as much force from the gym to the throw itself. At ACJC, we also have a net specific for throwing and I usually throw heavier kettlebells based on the overloading principle. The net is also useful because it reduces time and effort required to pick up the discus. This will also aid technique improvement because we will not be distracted by the discus’ flight upon releasing it. I will usually throw 3 times a week and slightly more a month or so before a major competition.

    Last but not least, stretching is an essential component of my training and I always make sure I do so before and after training so as to reduce injuries and increase flexibility which helps a lot with the range of motion of throwing.

    Q) What are your upcoming athletics goals?

    My first concern is qualifying for SEA Games (This interview was done in April 2015 and Landdis did made it to the SEA Games athletics squad). I hope to break the 45m barrier at the major games because I know I have the ability to do so. After which, I intend to continue training and hopefully hit 50m someday.

    Q) How has Wings Athletic Club has helped in your athletic pursuit?

    Wings has always been supportive of our endeavours. I appreciate the nominal monetary incentives provided for us in view of SEA Games and also the annual meeting whereby we get to know other members and the club’s plans or achievements. I am also appreciative of all the liasion and admin work involved in competition registration or other ad hoc matters. I know that these are things that require much effort and time, considering the fact that Wings has many members. I have always enjoyed being a Wings member and am glad to be part of the club because it gives me a sense of belonging..

Article last updated and correct as of 7th July 2015.

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