Dhiliban Soundharraja Pushes Himself “All The Way” as Culebre’s Newest House Captain
Culebre’s House Captain in 2022 is none other than Dhiliban Soundharraja, a third-year student who believes in pushing himself in every respect. Not only is he double majoring in Microbiology and Medicinal Chemistry, but he’s also a NASM-certified personal trainer! With such an illustrious STEM background to complement his hearty dedication to athletics and physical excellence, Dhiliban demonstrates both brains and brawns, truly embodying Culebre’s motto, “All The Way”.
I managed to steal some time from his busy schedule juggling write-ups for an inhumane number of lab reports, preparing for tests, organizing meetings and training sessions, and practicing for Monash Cup – all while acting as figurehead and mediator for a team of head-strong athletes. He was in the middle of studying (of course) and very graciously made time to sit down with me for a quick chat about his personal experiences as an athlete and some of the challenges he’s faced as House Captain.
Q: What motivated you to get into sports?
Basically, I’ve been a sports person since high school. It’s a recreational activity for me. I was also captain of cricket in high school – I played the state-level division. When it comes to sports, I find it exciting; it’s a good thing for me. I find that it keeps me engaged. I was determined to enter Monash Cup since 2020 and become House Captain. But because it was online, there were no physical sports; it was mostly online activities. After 2022, I took the chance.
Q: You seem to have a lot of experience with team sports. What do you enjoy most about them in particular?
It’s really fun and interesting to manage people, and most of the time, it really helps you to improve your problem-solving and critical thinking skills. You learn how to manage your team – it’s fun, interesting, and challenging. I love the more challenging aspects of my life.
Q: Oh? Well, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as House Captain?
Miscommunication between committee members. I have to be friendly and approachable, and I can’t take one side. I need to properly listen to both sides and make a firm decision. It’s happened so many times in my House. So, what I do is organize a meeting so we can sort it out immediately.
Q: You need a lot of people skills to be House Captain.
Q: Interesting. You might’ve partially answered my next question (laughs). What do you think are your greatest strengths as an athlete and specifically as House captain?
I think I have patience, and I’m a good listener. As I said previously, I’m good at critical thinking. I make quick decisions. And as an athlete? Because I’ve been in sports for so long, I think my stamina and my strength are really good.
Q: Given your track record, I believe that. Could you describe some of your funniest, memorable, or weird experiences as House Captain?
Because it’s been two years since we organized a physical Monash Cup, people don’t really know how to organize things, and there have been a lot of miscommunications between Houses.
Funniest thing? I don’t think there’s been many, to be honest. It’s mostly misunderstandings. We’ll book the venue in the morning, but in the evening, it’ll be booked by another house. So, the slots often change, and we have to talk to the House Captains.
Q: So, it’s Monash just being a bit of a mess?
(Laughs) Organizing, yeah. I believe they’re new here. They need to properly organize things. I believe they will do it in future Monash Cups. Especially in tryouts and selecting players. Another funny thing that’s happened is people come and randomly register their names – and people think Eight-ball pool is a bowling game. But Monash doesn’t have bowling.
Q: In your opinion, which house do you think is Culebre’s biggest rival?
I’d say Manticore. They’re especially strong in a few sports. If you take Culebre, we’re all equal in terms of talent and skill. Because at the end of the day, you get higher points if you’re a champion in one sport. For Manticore – in futsal, cricket, and maybe three more sports, the players are really strong, and it rapidly increases their scores.
Q: Is there anything you’d change about Monash Cup?
So many miscommunications occurred in Monash Cup 2021, and as I mentioned earlier, it was mostly regarding the scheduling for tryouts. For example, in the morning we would communicate to all our players that this evening we will have this sport, and everyone needs to come here. Our House players are there, but Manticore is there too, and they say that in the schedule it was allocated for them. I think Monash Cup 2022 will address this issue.
The second thing is the lack of sponsors. It’s 2000 ringgit per House this year, but I was told by previous House Captains it used to be more than 2000 ringgit.
The third thing is that some athletic sports were removed, such as swimming. There were so many students who couldn’t participate because of the unavailability of these sports.
Thank you for fitting me into your schedule, Dhiliban, and best of luck with the game! I truly don’t know how you do it – you’re an inspiration!
Interviewed by Kay Ng
Photographed by Luanne Choong