No Storm Too Rough For Jovin Tan, A Hero in the Eyes of Many


As Jovin Tan lunges ahead towards a braver, bigger, and better horizon in the world of disabled sports in Singapore, he has been garnering generous support from people all over the world. His determination to change the world of disability sports worldwide has earned him a spot in the form of a nomination for Coach of the Year by the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC). 

The award aims to reward coaches who have helped other athletes achieve and surpass their goals. Also taken into account are the contributions each of the coaches have made to the overall development of disability sports

Jovin Tan, born with cerebral palsy, have proved his case with his breakthrough performance in the “Sailability Singapore Regatta” in 2001, breaking through barriers with top results during the Ambassador’s Cup in 2005, and won his way into the hearts of both spectators and sportsmen/sportswomen alike during the 2005 and 2010 Singapore Straits Regatta.

He is the only coach with a disability for this round of nominations by the SDSC; he believes that with the right support, the award is not too far out of reach.

Building on Each Others’ Strengths

2016 Rio Paralympics - Sailing - 2-Person Keelboat (SKUD18) - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 12/09/2016. Jovin Tan Wei Qiang and Yap Qian Yin of Singapore compete TSRIO2016 REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins NO SALES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

Relying on his wheelchair for mobility, his friends, family, and community have given nothing but strong support for everything that Jovin Tan has been trying to achieve. It may have started off as a way for a frustrated 15-year-old to get away from an equally frustrated father, but it was also thanks to the angst that he found the gift for sailing

Jovin believes that despite his disability, he is not a bystander. He refuses to be one. As many times as others regarded him as a burden, he had a strong belief in his personal strengths. 

And we should all, abled or disabled, build on that. 

I intend to organize open regattas for regional sailors where able-bodied sailors can participate, either as a crew to a para sailor or as an individual to influence the organizers of future Asian Games and South-East Asian Games to feature a category where both para and able-bodied sailors can compete together,” he shares. 

Fueled by his beliefs and passion for sailing and humanity, he has run basic sailing courses for able-bodied University students and deaf Singaporeans. The sessions focus on each person’s strengths and help them overcome their weaknesses. 

And that’s one of the best ways to make this world a better place

Here are a few questions we, from TheExpatFairs team, asked Jovin.

Jovin Tan and his mother

Q: You are a person who has survived adversity and enjoys the thrill of overcoming them, what other factors have had an influence on you? How have they helped you beat the odds you’re up against?

A: After discovering sailing quite by accident because it was a free course, the fire built upon itself after a few achievements under my belt. On the water, my disability was no longer a point of consideration. My passion was. I was determined to do well every time and got the chance to create a name for myself through sailing. Because my mother played a pivotal role in helping me become the person that I am today, the desire to make her feel proud is also another factor. I feel that in proving my abilities to myself and others, the power to empower others lies in my hands.

Q: Who are the people you especially love and care about in your life? How has that love impacted your life?

A: My mom, first and foremost, played the most important role in my growth and success. Her comfort and support, despite her work obligations, gave me the confidence to be who I am

While my siblings sacrificed their time to be present with me during training and competitions as my primary caregiver, the skills and lessons about sailing and life from my coaches, Edward Yow and the late Lock Hong Kit, can never be replaced nor replicated. They taught me the nuts and bolts of sailing while also helping  me commit to sailing, practicing non-procrastination, keeping myself disciplined and punctual. These are life lessons that I picked up from them that I continue to practice to this very day. 

Although my father had difficulty accepting my disability when I was growing up, it was this precise reason that I chanced upon the opportunity to take up sailing. He has since seen how much of a man, human, and inspiration that I have grown up to be, so things are much easier on the home-front. He undeniably played his role in helping me find my passion for sailing.

Giving Up is Not an Option

“I just tell myself that there is nothing I can’t do and I can’t give up. One day I will even drive my own car. And I will have my own family.” 

Those are the words that Jovin Tan tells himself whenever things get difficult. While winning coveted titles and awards are great accolades, one of his proudest moments was being the first sailing coach with a physical disability in Singapore

That, in itself, was a historic moment

Powering on, he hopes to rally up enough support to obtain a Powered Pleasure Craft Driving License in Singapore. Every move and achievement he makes, he realizes, is a nudge forward for the future of people with disabilities all over the world. By helping the authorities better understand the needs of people with disabilities in Singapore, the general public can better see that people do not need to be born physically perfect to win

And that is why he needs the support and help from organizations like the Singapore Disability Sports Council, Changi Sailing Club, and families of people with disabilities. If not for them, Jovin Tan may not have been the skilled sailor that he is today.

Help Jovin Tan Win the Coach Developmental Award 2020

Jovin Tan is the only coach with a disability nominated for the Coach Developmental Award offered by SDSC this year and he hopes this achievement will become another badge of honor for the sport and country.  

SDSC has introduced a new public voting system to heighten awareness of the sport amongst the general public and there’s no better way to do that than on the internet. 

TheExpatFairs regard Jovin Tan a true hero that anyone can look up to for motivation and inspiration. We hope you will check out Jovin’s profile and do the following to help him win the Coach Developmental 2020 Award offered by SDSC.

Here’s what you need to do:

The public voting is open for a period of only one week, from 8th to 15th July 2020. 

If you’d like to see more people like Jovin continue to rise up to life’s challenges, head on over and give him the vote because public voting counts towards the nominee’s overall score. 

Although Jovin humbly adds that winning this award is merely a bonus, TheExpatFairs would like to put our weight behind his efforts and pay homage to his strong willpower. 

The world simply needs more people like him.



  1. Hi,

    I have read your wonderful post on Jovin article. However, I would like to correct the term hearing impaired as it is not acceptable in the deaf community. We would hope that you consider editing it to deaf instead.

    one of his deaf student

    • Hi Ammar,

      We apologise for the inappropriate word use and appreciate that you took the time to educate us. We have edited it to the correct term instead.

      Thank you for your kind comment!

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