Darrshan Raj Thurairajasingam has already conquered the Everest Base Camp at the tender age of nine. Photo: Thurairajasingam Vijeyasingam
At the tender age of nine, Darrshan Raj Thurairajasingam leads a more active lifestyle than many of us. In a week, he attends his usual scouts co-curricular activity (CCA), goes for two days of football training, and sometimes swims up to three times. He even accompanies his father, Mr Thurairajasingam Vijeyasingam, to cycle or even go running - if their schedules allow it.
And so it comes as no surprise, that while most of his peers were enjoying the June holidays on vacation with their families or simply having fun, the Yio Chu Kang Primary School student spent 12 days in the Himalayas to become one of the youngest known Singaporeans to have trekked up Everest Base Camp.
The idea of doing the trek started out when Darrshan’s father asked him, off the cuff, if he wanted to come along, to which Darrshan replied yes without hesitation. Mr Thurairajasingam did not take his son’s answer too seriously at the beginning, but upon seeing how eager Darrsshan was to know about Everest Base Camp and to join in on the trek, he spoke to his wife, who then encouraged them to give it a try.
Darrshan (on the ball) in action during training with the ActiveSG Football Academy. Photo: Thurairajasingam Vijeyasingam
For the next few months, Darrshan was committed to training for the climb. With the guidance of his father, a gym owner, he trained three times a week for up to one and a half hours each time. This included running on the treadmill, skipping and jumping. Father and son also began cycling twice a week for 50 kilometres.
All these were on top of his twice-weekly soccer training at the ActiveSG Football Academy at Serangoon Stadium and his weekly Fitness Champs swim lessons at Hougang Swimming Complex.
Eventually, the father-son duo was ready for their trip. With the help of a local guide, Darrshan and his dad endured the rocky terrain and biting winds to complete the trek on June 14, a few days short of Darrshan’s ninth birthday.
Darrshan posing with Mount Everest in the background. Photo: Thurairajasingam Vijeyasingam
Mr Thurairajasingam shares that Darrshan’s training towards the trek was made easier with his early introduction to sports: “The soccer training, especially running, proved a great help for the trek as it provided Darrshan with his foundational endurance and stamina.”
“I think the ActiveSG facilities we have are really very good and they’re where he learnt his basics. Without these places, it would have been very difficult for me to introduce him to sports. As for the trek, I couldn’t possibly have trained him from zero and brought him up to base camp, that’s just not gonna happen.”
Richard Bok (2nd from right) with (from left to right) fellow head coaches Steven Tan, Robin Chitrakar, Hyrizan Jufri, Principal Aleksandar Duric and Mohamad Hairil Amin. Photo: Sport Singapore
Mr Richard Bok, head coach of AFA Serangoon, said that Darrshan is 'a diligent boy who is keen to learn and improve himself.' He added, "Darrshan picks up football skills quickly and is always a keen competitor with good sportsmanship" He observed that even after football training, Darrshan, and his younger brother Puvendrasingam could be seen continuing their training on the running track with the boys' father joining in as well.
Mr Bok also said that at AFA, the motto; 'Honour, Resilience & Teamwork' were values that were imparted to their kids. He finished by saying that 'first and foremost, you have to be a good person before being a good footballer.'