From pupil to teammate at the SEA Games
Debutant Chan draws inspiration from coach-turned-player Rhamanan
For four years during his time in the national squash youth set-up, Benedict Chan was nurtured by coach Vivian Rhamanan.
Come next week, pupil and master will join forces as players for Team Singapore in Kuala Lumpur as they go in search of glory at the SEA Games.
For motivation, Chan, 20, needs to look no further than over his shoulder at his teammate.
Rhamanan's decision to step down as assistant coach of the national team and become a professional squash player at the end of 2015 is an inspiration to Chan.
Rhamanan, 31, a men's jumbo doubles gold medallist at the last Games, had to make plenty of sacrifices to chase his dream.
The father of two scrapped his car and put his plans to move into a new house on hold, so that he can travel around the world to take part in elite competitions.
Chan sees his former coach as living proof of what local squash players can achieve.
Said Chan: "Watching Vivian the past few years and growing up with him, the best lesson he's taught me is to never stop believing in myself and to not be afraid to chase my dreams.
"When Vivian won the gold in 2015, he sparked the revival of squash - you could call him a modern-day trailblazer for a sport that's been forgotten (in Singapore)."
"When Vivian won the gold in 2015, he sparked the revival of squash - you could call him a modern-day trailblazer for a sport that's been forgotten (in Singapore)."Benedict Chan on his former coach Vivian Rhamanan
In 1991, Singapore swept all four gold medals on offer when the sport was introduced for the first time at the SEA Games.
But, after that, local squash went on a steady decline.
The last three times squash was included in the SEA Games - in 2005, 2007 and 2015 - Malaysia claimed every gold medal on offer except for one.
It was Rhamanan and his partner Marcus Phua who prevented Malaysia's clean sweep during this period with their triumph in the men's jumbo doubles event two years ago.
Rhamanan, who will be taking part in the team and jumbo events in KL, hopes to see the sport return to its glory days of being the "No. 2 sport in Singapore", after football.
He said: "With the right support from the government, we may be able to match what Malaysia has done.
"If not now, then at least in five to 10 years' time."
Chan, who is making his SEA Games debut, is a late bloomer in squash.
He loved badminton, rugby and basketball as a kid, but football was his first love. So much so that he almost enrolled himself in the Singapore Sports School to pursue his passion.
But he eventually went to Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) to focus on his academics.
As fate would have it, he picked up squash there - at the age of 13 - under encouragement from his father, who played the sport for leisure and came up with training programmes for him.
Chan, who will be competing in the doubles and team events, is hoping to surprise regional powerhouses Malaysia in the doubles.
He said: "Though I'm relatively inexperienced, I'll embrace it and try to get one over the Malaysians."