A serious medical ailment has almost certainly ended Roanne Ho’s dreams of competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
But the swimmer is firmly on the road to recovery, and the mighty scare may just be the catalyst that re-ignites the spark to win more medals for Singapore.
It has now been a month since the 23-year-old was discharged from hospital after surgery and she returned to the pool two Fridays ago.
But her doctor advised her against competing in this month’s Singapore National Age Group (SNAG) Championships – the final opportunity for local swimmers to meet the required times to make the cut for the Olympics in August.
There was speculation that she would retire from competitive swimming, but Ho ended all that talk when she said yesterday: “I’m quite disappointed (that the Olympic dream is over), but I believe everything happens for a reason.
“I think I am now targeting the 2017 SEA Games.
“If I can’t swim at the SNAG, the next meet will be in June and I will have longer preparation time for that and to focus on my weaker points.
“If I manage that and I do well in June, I can build up for the SEA Games and then in 2018, there’s the Asian Games, so I might hang on for a bit more.
“I’m just going to take it one step at a time, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Back in January, Ho visited a clinic to treat what she thought was a routine cough.
Doctors discovered the breaststroke specialist’s right lung had collapsed and she needed surgery.
It was a life-changing moment.
She said: “Obviously, health is always the most important thing.
“It doesn’t matter how well you plan what you want to do or achieve, if your health isn’t good, then it’s just going to be in the way of everything.
“Right now, I don’t take my health for granted anymore.
“It doesn’t matter what I have to do to accomplish my goals… If I don’t feel good, I just listen to my body, my health is number one.”
Singapore national coach Sergio Lopez believes the situation could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
“If you look at Roanne, I think she’s happy,” said Lopez.
“She understands what happened and I think it’s given her perspective in life.
“I thought she was going to retire after this Olympic year, but now I think she’s looking at even the Asian Games.
“Of course, I’m not happy such a thing has happened to her, but you always have to look at the positives, and I think more positive has happened than negative.”
This article was first published on March 2, 2016.
Get The New Paper for more stories.