Amanda Tan ready to stand out from the SEA Games crowd

Amanda Tan, 14, chatting with Sports School principal Deborah Tan (left, in red) and Yeoh Chee Yan, the MCCY permanent secretary. On Amanda's left are fellow golfers Abdul Hadi Uda Thith and Marc Ong.

Alongside illustrious peers and seniors such as Olympic sprinter Calvin Kang and footballer Safuwan Baharudin, it might have been hard to pick golfer Amanda Tan out.

But the 14-year-old, who was among about 30 athletes at a send-off ceremony the Singapore Sports School (SSP) held on Thursday for its SEA Games-bound students and alumni, is standing out in her own way.

The guest of honour at the ceremony was Yeoh Chee Yan, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), who is also the chairman of SSP's board of directors.

The golfer will be the youngest SSP student to compete at next month's Games in Myanmar.

She is also one of the school's youngest-ever athletes to don national colours at the biennial event.

"Sometimes when I think about it (being the youngest athlete), it does give me a little bit of stress," Amanda told The Straits Times on Thursday.

"But I'm honoured to be one of the athletes representing Singapore. It was one of my goals for this year."

Not that the Secondary 2 student is overly worried.

After all, she and her team-mates have the advantage of practice, having recently returned from Naypyidaw where she played six rounds at the Royal Myanmar Golf Club, the venue for the golf competition.

She said: "The greens are slow, and it's a long course, which might work to my advantage because I'm better with a driver (she averages 210m off the tee)."

"This will be a very good experience for me and I'm excited. I hope to get a medal and do Singapore proud," added Amanda, whose biggest international outing before this was at the South East Asian Amateur Team Golf Championship in the Philippines in June.

Hurdler and sprinter Dipna Lim-Prasad, who is Team Singapore's flag-bearer at the Games, led the Athletes' Pledge on Thursday during the send-off ceremony.

Said the 22-year-old Olympian, who is also captain of the Singapore track team: "I just try and guide the younger ones along a little by prepping them for media questions and other things I personally had trouble with."

A total of 44 current and former students of the SSP, including 21 debutants, will represent Singapore at the SEA Games, which begin on Dec 11.

maychen@sph.com.sg


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