Richard Sam Bera

“I am driven by the feeling of achivement”

Top athletes inevitably face the question of “what next?” after their heyday has passed.

Swimming legend Richard Sam Bera retired at age 34 to become a magazine editor. His clean break from his almost two-decade-long sports career included him unceremoniously stashing his haul of medals in a box.

“It almost scared me to look at them; I couldn’t believe that all those years I had been doing this whole thing. It was kind of an identity crisis,” he says.

He still yearned for an outlet to channel his competitive spirit and his need for achievement.

He found it in triathlons, completing his first in Singapore in 2010. His rival was no longer in the neighbouring lane, but his own body.

“There is the feeling of pain and suffering, but once you cross the finish line, you want to do it again,” says Richard.

He has also been able to reconcile with his legendary past. “Now I can look at them with fondness, and I can embrace what I achieved,” he says of the medals.