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National rower commended at National School Games Opening Ceremony

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Singapore’s first rowing champion, Saiyidah Aisyah (right), all smiles during a training session.

An estimated 55,000 students will participate in competitions across 28 sports from 6 January 2014 to 29 August 2014. Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, was the Guest-of-Honour at the 2014 National School Games (NSG) Opening Ceremony held at ITE College Central on 6 Feb. 

The ceremony signifies the commitment by the Singapore Primary Schools Sports Council (SPSSC) and the Singapore Schools Sports Council (SSSC) to offer inter-school competition opportunities with a strong educational focus to students.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Mr Heng talked about the importance of having a holistic education and learning grit for life through sports. He also quoted several national and school athletes in his speech to convey the point that in sports, sometimes winning is not everything. Integrity and character development are just as important.

“At the recently completed South East Asian (SEA) Games, there were many stories of grit, discipline and eventual triumphs. Saiyidah Aisyah was Singapore’s lone representative for rowing. She created history for Singapore when she clocked a winning time at the 2km race in the Women’s event. Her achievement did not come easy for her. She had to plough through thousands of hours of training, even choosing to put her career temporarily on hold, to become Singapore’s first rowing champion at the games.”

“Janine Khoo, a student athlete, displayed the same kind of grit for her sport - Equestrian. She trained for 10 years to ride horses. 10 days prior to her ‘O’ levels, she broke her cheekbones at a training incident while preparing for the SEA Games. She needed surgery to insert four titanium plates and a wire mesh to reconstruct her face. The setback did not dampen Janine’s spirits. Instead, this young, gutsy lady sat for her ‘O’ levels despite the pain, went back to training within three weeks of her surgery, and proceeded to secure the first equestrian gold for Singapore since 1995.” 

“When Dipna Lim Prasad (above) made the cut for the Singapore Sports School, she was the slowest runner amongst the athletes of her batch. According to her, she was “bouncing around events” in her entire first year at the sports school, and only managed to settle on the sprint events in her second year. Today, she has lowered the Women’s 100 metres hurdles national mark four times, and is the holder of three national records.” 

“Similarly, today’s fastest man in Singapore only started serious sprint training when he was 14 years old. Before that, he took part in PE, spent his recess in primary school kicking a plastic ball around, and dabbled in a bit of hockey training in secondary one. Since then, Gary Yeo (above) has raced alongside sprint giants like Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake at the London Olympics. Gary and Dipna are top athletes whose talents were honed in their teens.”

Since 2010, the NSG has provided our students with the opportunities to compete, interact and develop character and values through real-world and authentic experiences. Students learn life lessons, cultivate positive attitudes, and strengthen their people skills through the training programme and the competition experience.

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