About Time

Former national sprinter Calvin Kang on making the transition from sportsman to entrepreneur, and how he launched his own men’s fashion watch line.

By Yong Shu Chiang      6 July 2018

Now, he has plans to expand and launch a second line of watches. It seems like an unlikely overnight success, yet Calvin believes his sporting career primed him for this transition, even if it was not easy to leave it all behind.

Former sprinter Calvin Kang is now a watch entrepreneur and personal trainer, and hopes to also one day publish a book to inspire others to think big.

A Runner’s Life

“I’m lucky because my parents have always been supportive,” says Calvin. This encompasses key decisions such as deciding to join the Singapore Sports School from Victoria School when he was 14, which meant training twice a day and living in the school from Mondays to Fridays; pursuing a degree in sports science at Nanyang Technological University while still competing at a high level; and prolonging his career after the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, even though most of his peers or juniors had retired by then, to continue representing Singapore until 2017.

“I felt that I could still do well and continue to run good timings,” Calvin reflects. “But in 2017, all the runners I was up against were younger and running faster at their age than I did. I knew then that it was time to quit.” Still, Calvin’s achievements are significant. By his own estimation, he has been Singapore’s fastest 100m sprinter in the past three years, with a personal best of 10.47 seconds. His national junior (under-20) record of 10.53 still stands as well, while he has been part of several successful 4x100m relay teams, which have been ranked highly in Asia and was once on the cusp of qualifying for the World Championships.

Transferable Skills

Calvin, who counts industrialist Elon Musk and 100m world record holder Usain Bolt among his personal heroes, believes that his background stands him in good stead. As an athlete, having a drive to excel, being able to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses, and being able to plan to maximise the odds of success were crucial. “For me, it’s having that understanding of yourself and having that drive to do well. I am goal-oriented, I set attainable milestones and, most of the time, I achieve them. This mindset gives me focused energy and a confidence that I can succeed,” he says.


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