It came three days after her birthday, but Singapore national netball captain Micky Lin was still treated to a sparkling present yesterday. Together with team-mate Charmaine Soh, she was surprised with a pair of one-carat diamond earrings at the Caraters flagship store in UE Square.
Each pair of earrings is worth $10,000, and took an average of 420 hours to hand craft. The duo also received a cash reward of $500 each.
Said Lin, 29, an assistant manager at Deloitte: "I thought we were here just for a client meeting. This is a very sweet gesture for us, to know that people actually acknowledge us for our hard work.
"I will wear it on a special occasion."
Added goal-shooter Soh, 25, a risk and compliance associate at Deloitte: "I can't wear it for training but I will wear it for work and when I go out with friends."
James Syddal, chief executive officer of diamond retailer Caraters, said: "This is our first sports earrings - it is more hardy and the design consists of a hoop and ball.
"Netball's exceptional performance caught our attention, so I thought it will be very encouraging by giving them a pair of diamonds as a way of showing my support.
"Due to limited time, we were only able to make two."
This surprise gift comes a week after another netballer, Kimberly Lim, was awarded a $32,000 scholarship from education company Kaplan to help her complete her studies at Murdoch University.
The national netball team's recent wave of success, topped by their golden exploits at the recent SEA Games, which captured the imagination of local sports fans, has piqued the interest of potential sponsors, said Netball Singapore's chief executive officer Cyrus Medora.
He said: "It started last year when we won the Asian Championship at home. We had a lot of good reports in social media even then.
"It is growing now, we have been working hard to raise awareness. We have always been looking for new sponsors, and this win at the SEA Games was a key one, a good time to get sponsors.
"These girls have really sacrificed a lot for the sport and they have not got sufficient coverage and acknowledgement for what they have done. Such a surprise is a fantastic move."
Looking forward, the national netballers will have a greater challenge ahead of them - the Netball World Cup in Sydney in August.
At the last edition in 2011, when it was named the World Championship and held in Singapore, the Republic finished 15th out of 16 teams, and Soh said the team hope to improve on that performance.
Medora added: "The World Cup will be different. Their opponents will be stronger and bigger, and our girls will have to work harder. But I believe they are ready.
"They are currently ranked 17th in the world and the target will be to be ranked 14th, something I believe is a realistic assessment."
This article was first published on June 28, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.