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Search is on for budding talent

Student athletes take centre stage in TNP School Sports Star award. -ST
Lim Han Ming

Sat, Apr 20, 2013
The Straits Times

Teck Whye Secondary School's Syasya Rifqah, 15, is the girls' winner of the inaugural The New Paper School Sports Star Award 2011 and $3,000 in prize money.

HER STORY epitomised the spirit of this award.

Syasya Rifqah overcame her father's drug use, which split up her family, to lead Teck Whye Secondary School to national titles in hockey and floorball.

She also topped her cohort every year since enrolling there in 2008.

Syasya's story inspired several readers and the panel of TNP School Sports Star judges, who voted for her as the inaugural winner of The New Paper School Sports Star Award in 2011.

Syasya was also praised by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament last year.

Then there was sailor Jonathan Yeo - the boys' winner of the award last year. The Raffles Institution student crashed into a stationary trailer lorry while cycling with his brother Jeremiah along Changi Coast Road in 2011.

The accident almost paralysed the teenager, who now suffers from Brown-Sequard syndrome, which is a loss of sensation and motor functions caused by injury to the spinal cord.

Showing true grit and determination, Jonathan recovered from the horrific accident to win the Schools National Sailing B Division Byte class title after converting from a 420 dinghy.

His rise to glory from adversity earned the thumbs-up from our panel of judges, who voted for him as the boys' winner of the TNP School Sports Star Award presented by H-TWO-O.

Softballer Seko Aiko, the girls' winner of the award last year, came out tops because of her fierce competitiveness, sportsmanship and for being a motivational figure to her peers at Crescent Girls' School.

Jonathan and Seko emerged from 10 fi- nalists who were picked from a list of 28 nominees through online voting and by a panel of judges. They each received $3,000, a trophy and a certificate.

The other eight finalists also took home cash rewards of $500 each.

Now into its third year, The New Paper is looking for more inspirational school sports stories to tell.

Our title sponsor H-TWO-O, known for its unwavering passion for sports, has once again lent its support behind the TNP School Sports Star Award.

In the next few months, The New Paper will profile sportsboys and sportsgirls who make significant contributions to their schools, with sporting achievements considered a bonus.

Schools who think they have studentathletes deserving of the award can go to to send in their nominations. In addition to the TNP School Sports Star Award presented by H-TWO-O, there's also a separate award where we honour outstanding teacher-coaches.

The S Soocelaraj Award, presented by the SoilBuild Group, aims to recognise the architects behind the sporting success of their student-athletes.

The late Soocelaraj was one of the best teacher-coaches Singapore's education system had produced.

Born in Penang, Sooce, as he was popularly known, came to Singapore in 1953.

Right till the day he retired from teaching in 1990, Sooce was an exemplary role model to his students and inspired generations of athletes in hockey, cricket and physical education.

Sheikha Fadzleen of Victoria School won the inaugural S Soocelaraj Award last year. She received a trophy, a certificate and $5,000, courtesy of Soilbuild Group.

If you know of a teacher-coach like the late Soocelaraj or Sheikha, go to www.tnp. sg/sss and give him or her the due recognition.

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