Women's Health August 2017: Featuring Heidi Gan

Highlights from this month's magazine


Women's Health August 2017: Featuring Heidi Gan
kim mun/hopscotch photography

Smells Like Team Spirit
Looking back, I remember dreading PE classes because I was never really good at any sports and would deliberately leave my kit at home. The school coach would put me through all sorts of activities in hopes of uncovering some hidden athletic talent, but aside from being very eager because she believed I had potential, nothing really came out of it.

Over time, we both realised that whatever I lacked in skills, I made up for with enthusiasm for my sports house. I would cheer the loudest for our athletes so she made me head cheerleader (even when she had to form cheering squads because we didn’t have any back then), and with that, a lifelong cheerleader was born.

I’m a huge believer in encouragement and what anyone can achieve with the right support. Women definitely have the strength to tackle difficult situations on our own, but as a team, we can do even better. We’re made for tougher and more complex stuff, and we’re great at talking it out, expressing ourselves and getting others and their opinions involved in discussions—just some of the traits you need to excel as a community!

In fact, a study on Collective Intelligence suggests that it’s not just about how many smart people you have in a group; it also comes down to how many women you have in a team to help solve problems. When we interviewed the founders of sustainable enterprise, The Picha Project, we couldn’t think of a better example of the amazing things women can do when they come together. As a collective they tackled a social issue, created a business and helped others. Read their story in ‘Motivate’.

Since Malaysia is hosting the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games this month, I would like to highlight a specific group of women who are championing team spirit regardless of their participation in individual or team sports. They are our female athletes! Our cover girl and national long-distance swimmer Heidi Gan, while describing herself as intrinsically motivated, also believes in the power of a good support network to push her further in ‘Going the Distance’. She claims, without them, she wouldn’t be where she is today. 

We also chatted with 2015 SEA Games gold medallist Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, who spoke about how important it is to support our fellow countrywomen and men. “You feel that all the sacrifices you made, whatever you’ve done to get to this point, have been worth it,” says the gymnast competing in both individual and team events. You can read more in ‘Farah Ann's Hopes for Kuala Lumpur 2017’. 

If you are all game to support Malaysian sportswomen, but don’t know where to start, we have a short list of athletes that you can check out. They are in ‘Names to Look Out For’. We can’t wait to get our pom-poms out! To my sports coach who encouraged that inner hype girl in me, I hope she’s happy to know that I’m still championing women...


Women's Health Malaysia