Insights + interviews

In Conversation With Danniel Lee

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We interview 50-year-old skydiving instructor Danniel Lee on his thoughts of age being a barrier in competitive sports.

AA: What got you started on skydiving/indoor skydiving and what made you choose to continue being an indoor skydiving coach till now?

DL: I started skydiving, or parachuting as it is known in the military, since 1981, when I was enrolled in the Commando unit. And I’ve loved the sport ever since. Coaching has given me the opportunity to share the enjoyment of flying with more people. I also get a sense of fulfillment when I see my students make progress.

AA: What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an indoor skydiving coach?

DL: Different people learn at different paces, and so, it’s a challenge trying to find out how to bring out the best in each person. The most challenging students are the high achievers who are overly critical of themselves. I try to make them see that while skydiving/indoor skydiving is a sport, it should also be enjoyed, even at competition level. And once they realise that, they start improving by leaps and bounds.

AA: Besides indoor skydiving, what other activities do you take part in to keep active?

DL: I used to play squash competitively, but, ever since I started skydiving, that has taken a back seat. Fishing is also another activity that I enjoy tremendously, but since most of my sporting activities take place over the weekend, I have to make a sacrifice.

AA: What about your participation in the 16th Asiania Parachuting Championship?

DL: The 16th Asiania Parachuting Championships is one of the many competitions that my team and I plan to continue participating in, as it gives us the opportunity to engage/interact with teams from other countries, gauge our performance and see where we stand in terms of our individual skills and also teamwork.

AA: What motivated you to take part in the Asiania Parachuting Championship?

DL: My motivation to join competitions such as the Asiania Parachuting Championship has always stemmed from my enjoyment of the sport as well as the satisfaction and sense of personal achievement in attaining the milestones, given that people see my age as a physical ‘restriction’ of sorts to competitive skydiving. Despite my age, I am motivated and hope to work towards a level of competency and skills to be able to represent Singapore in these competitions one day.

AA: What are your thoughts about age with regards to your involvement in these activities?

DL: Age should not be a factor when taking up indoor skydiving. It can be enjoyed by and taught to almost any age group, as long as the individual can understand simple instructions, and follow safety precautions. I have three boys who started indoor skydiving at the age of seven onwards (official age determined by the authorities, although I know of countries that have children as young as three-years-old taking up the sport).

AA: Would you recommend seniors to take part in activities like indoor skydiving or parachuting? What are some words of encouragement you’d like to share with those who are interested in participating in these activities?

I highly recommend indoor skydiving for people of all ages, including seniors (medical condition to be taken into consideration). It really helps to sharpen their alertness, improve body balance and flexibility as well as enhance their overall self-esteem when they succeed in achieving something they once thought was impossible. I have taken people ranging in age from five to 84, for tandem skydives so I know age is not a factor. What we can do, is only limited by our mind and not by our age.




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