From obese to IPPT Gold & becoming NSF of the Year
// Story by Thrina Tham
// Photos by Chua Soon Lye & courtesy of CFC (NS) Venkat
When he entered Basic Military Training, Corporal First Class (CFC) (NS) Venkat Subramaniam was 108kg. His fitness was in the dumps and he would fail his Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) with a 2.4km timing of 17min and 50s.
But the combat engineer turned things around – he continued training after last parade and spent his weekends running.
Within six months, he shed 30kg to weigh 76kg. He also pushed himself to achieve a Gold for his IPPT, finishing his 2.4km in 10min.
Even then, he did not stop training and would even motivate his platoon mates by initiating sports games or runs in the evenings.
"Every time we booked into camp, we would have our weight checked. To book in and see our weight decrease motivated us to lose weight," said the now 21-year-old.
He also credits his mum for making a difference to his diet by cutting down his carbohydrates and cooking more vegetables for him.
For his discipline and commitment to teamwork, CFC (NS) Venkat was awarded the Full-time National Serviceman (NSF) of the Year Award last September.
CFC (NS) Venkat, who is now an Operationally Ready National Serviceman after completing his full-time National Service (NS) in January, said he relishes the memories shared with his platoon mates in 35th Battalion, Singapore Combat Engineers (35 SCE).
"Every day was like a party with them – they can make the most boring exercise exciting."
His platoon did their Army Training Evaluation Centre evaluation overseas, where they faced language barriers in communicating with their overseas counterparts. Weather conditions were also harsh.
"It was much hotter than in Singapore and we couldn't sleep at night because we were sweating in our beds," said the undergraduate, who is pursuing a double degree in Computer Engineering & Business at Nanyang Technological University.
"But even then, our platoon persevered, motivating each other to carry out our mission."
With such a strong bond, it comes as no surprise that CFC (NS) Venkat had no qualms about taking over his platoon mates' duties even when he was busy as a participant in the 2017 National Day Parade.
"There were many times I cancelled my weekend plans to replace a person for weekend guard duty when they were feeling unwell," he said.
"But my family was very understanding that it was my duty to do my part for the nation.
"Without their support, I would not have been able to focus on Army."