From Burghley courts to title sponsor – the story of Mark Wong of Dymon Asia

Singapore Squash Rackets Association (SSRA)

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By Alex Wan

The first two events of 2021 were held with Dymon Asia logos etched on the front walls of courts 1 and 7 at the Kallang Squash Centre. While the events were both fully subscribed, many have not heard of Dymon Asia and one common question many had were – Who is Dymon Asia and why are they supporting our sport?

The man behind Dymon Asia coming on board is none other than Mark Wong. Apart from being a brand new sponsor to SGSquash, Mark also gets onto the record books as the first sponsor to be playing his own event that’s organised by the Singapore Squash Rackets Association.

It’s hard to miss Mark. With a rather tall frame and bald head, he easily stands out in the crowd. Added with his rather contagious laughter, he is often the soul of friendly banters at squash events.

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Mark’s amiable disposition and contagious laughter makes him the soul of friendly banters at squash events.

Mark shares that his earliest memory of the sport was picking up an old Grays junior wooden racket and joining his dad and his mates at Burghley Squash Centre when he was ten. It was there that his father’s friends thought he had good ball sense and was encouraged to enrol into the Pepsi Youth Scheme.

Shortly after, he won the National Junior Under-12 title, and went on to win the Under-14 and 16 categories as he progressed. Being a top junior then, he also represented Singapore at various regional events.

Unfortunately, a back injury during his junior college years put a halt to any further development on his squash and he was forced to retire from playing competitively. However, Mark eventually returned to the sport and can be seen actively competing on the Masters circuit these days.

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Mark brings his ‘A-game’ to every squash match, just as he does for his daily work at Dymon Asia, to shine bright like a ‘Dymon’.

How squash has helped shape Mark professionally

These days, Mark plies his trade as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Risk Officer at Dymon Asia, a leading Asia-focussed alternative investment manager. He manages a business that invests in the financial markets, which he says, is fast paced and intense, just like in a squash match. He is constantly required to bring his ‘A-game’ to work every day to do what’s best for the firm, while staying level-headed.

On the leadership front, the experience he gained being captain of the St. Joseph’s Institution and university squash teams started him on a journey of finding and honing his leadership styles.

Through the years of playing in school and club teams, he has also learned the galvanising power of team work, which he says is what stood out most for him from squash coming into professional world.

“As an analogy, everyone might have their individual singles or doubles games, but work to give their best and hold each other accountable to the common purpose. Everyone contributes and the milestones are achieved through everyone completing their individual tasks to complete their piece of the puzzle. It’s possessing the common vision where everyone knows their part and what must be done to achieve the bigger goal – like they commonly say in sports, ‘Eyes on the prize’.”

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For the first time, Singapore Squash had a sponsor participate in the very tournament they sponsored.

Mark also added, “Squash uncovered a competitive drive in me.  It drove home the value of grit and perseverance – that you need to train hard, put in the requisite hours, and work consistently at something to succeed.”

Everyone can play a part

At an interview during the event, Mark mentioned that the sport has been sidelined for some years now. He feels that everyone has a part to play to turn this around.

“It should be ground-up effort with public-private partnerships, and everyone can play a part, whether through local grassroots organisation, schools or awareness campaigns.”

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Mark Wong (left), Chief Operating Officer and Chief Risk Officer at Dymon Asia and Patrick Thio (right), President of SSRA.

He feels that hosting international or even regional events would also help shine a spotlight on the sport on our shores. This could well happen in the near future given Singapore Squash Rackets Association’s efforts in bringing the PSA World Tour into Singapore.

Mark added that he is inspired by the many individuals working in clubs and also Singapore Squash to keep the spirit of the game strong and growing. He closed the interview by saying:

“Squash has provided the foundations of many values that I live by.  I am doing my small part to give back.”

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