Constance Lien won the gold medal for Singapore at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games | photo: instagram/constancelienjj
Constance Lien is what you call a sporting prodigy. She is already a world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the tender age of 21. Yeap, you read that right.
Having been on our radar last year as part of our International Women's Day tribute, this submission specialist has only gone on to greater heights ever since - proving her strength in body, mind and soul.
Strength in body
Constance's list of accolades speak for themselves. She first represented Singapore in BJJ at the 2018 Asian Games, where she clinched a silver medal, becoming the first local athlete to claim a medal in the sport.
A year later, she shattered another glass ceiling, as the first Singaporean to be crowned a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion. She then rounded off of a banner 2019 by bringing home the gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games.
Not bad for someone who only started training in the martial art at 16. From a novice to an elite in the sport in less than five years. Talk about being an inspirational accomplishment!
Strength in mind
While Constance has battled many formidable opponents on the mat, she would argue that the toughest enemy she has faced is one from within. No stranger to doubts and setbacks, she was initially cut from the SEA Games swimming team in 2015, a sport that she had trained competitively in all her life up to that point.
Having come from a family of national swimmers, the pressure to excel was always there. "As a swimmer, I always thought that I wasn't good enough, so when I first came across BJJ, I thought I wasn't cut out for it. I felt like I would just make a fool out of myself," she revealed in an interview.
Constance has been very open with her struggles with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. She credited her discovery of BJJ with giving her strength, focus and the passion to excel in a new arena.
“The idea of fighting for myself gave me the motivation to want to fight these mental and emotional issues off."
Strength in soul
On top of her training, Constance is also a mental health advocate and works with the Caregivers Alliance Limited in their fundraising efforts. She hopes to draw from her own experiences to help other athletes better manage their emotional and mental health.
“I hope to eventually use the exposure and publicity I get for my sport to give back to the community,” she shared.
As the young face of a combat sport that is growing in popularity here coupled with her indomitable fighting spirit, Constance is a rising star very much deserving of the spotlight.