Rising to toughness

THE GREAT thing about KIX HD’s (Astro channel 729) R U Tough Enough? is that it isn’t just about muscles or brute force.

This obstacle race is about overcoming fears, finding the best strategy, and having a never–say–die attitude.

This competition, which started in 2014, had winners coming from different backgrounds.

Schoolteacher Dinesh Jared Sundram won season one, and flight attendant–turned–pastry chef D. G. Leoniel took the prize in season two, while IT sales manager (now fitness instructor) Benny Yeoh won last year’s season three Man vs Woman Edition.

This year will see contestants competing in the Ultimate Edition with up to RM30,000 in prizes as well as the winner getting to participate in a bonus round against the previous years’ champions.

Registration for a spot on season four R U Tough Enough?: Ultimate Edition is now open to all Malaysians aged 18 and above, at www.KIX-TV.com/tough, before Oct 18.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a closed–door audition in late October, and 10 tough individuals will be selected to compete in the final showdown at Sunway Pyramid on Nov 26.

At a recent press conference to announce the fourth season, past winners Leoniel and Yeoh recalled what made them take part in the first place.

Leoniel, 35, said: “I always liked obstacle course races. I saw this call to join R U Tough Enough? and decided to [enter the competition].

“Never did I think I would be shortlisted and last until the end.”

Leoniel said that since winning, he now has more confidence to take part in other competitions.

“I believe if you put your heart and all your passion into it, you will succeed.”

Yeoh, 36, also saw a similar advertisement for the competition and decided to try his luck.

“I love to challenge myself. I wanted to see if I could go through these challenges,” he said.

“Then, I decided to be a fitness instructor. I hope to inspire more people to see that they can do anything they set their mind to.”

R U Tough Enough? first winner Jared, 28, who could not make it for the press conference, said in a statement that taking part taught him to stay focused and to believe in himself.

“Some may have been training for years but need that sense of validation.

“It doesn’t need to be the people from the industry but it is for anyone who has the discipline and correct mindset.

“A lot of my students look up to me as a big brother figure. They believe that no one is stronger or faster than Mr Jared.

“This keeps me motivated and disciplined in my training.”

To him, being tough means “someone who can get up when life just keeps pushing him down, and when it seems impossible for him to push forward”.

That’s why, he added, R U Tough Enough? is such a good competition.

“It is also about your mental strength, whether you want to push through it or give up.”

Meanwhile, MMA champion Peter Davis returns as host for the competition.

“Props to all the competitors who had to make tough decisions to prove they are tough enough,” said Davis. “That is the key to their success.

“Physically some of them are bigger, some may be [built] differently, but they all had to undergo a variety of different exercises and activities.

“There is never one particular thing that can give you the edge.”

Davis added that if you can’t pull a truck, you focus on the next obstacle and try and do better.

“It is not about whether you are tough physically. Brute strength is also about emotional toughness and mental focus.”

For example, Leoniel went into the competition with the idea that just making the cut would make him a winner. That is what kept him going until the end.

Davis explained: “If you are a monkey, you can climb a tree, and if you are a dolphin, you can swim.

“What happens when you put a dolphin on a tree? You can’t take things at face value. You must look at the positive [aspects].”

Both Yeoh and Leoniel added that no matter how many times you stumble, it’s important to get up and keep going.

Leoniel associates toughness with perseverance, while to Yeoh, it is a mindset.