Forced to compete alone after change in rules

Shorn of her partner because of a rule change, and forced to compete alone at the WorldSkills contest, Ms Audrey Foo started to feel nervous even before she landed in Germany. The 21-year-old broke out in tears at Changi Airport on June 28 just as the Singapore team was preparing to fly to Leipzig.

"I felt very pressured to do well, because Singapore won gold in my category in the past three contests," said the Nanyang Polytechnic graduate, who contested the Health and Social Care category.

Since it was added to the competition in 2007, Singapore has topped the category each time. But a change of rules turned the contest into an individual event. This meant a choice had to be made between Ms Foo and her polytechnic coursemate Gladys Aw, 20. The duo developed a close working relationship on the way to winning gold at WorldSkills Singapore, the local version of the competition.

"When you have a partner, there is someone to motivate you," said Ms Foo.

But she was not alone in Leipzig. Ms Aw flew there to support her. When it was announced that Singapore had claimed its fourth straight gold in the category, beating 11 other competitors, there were tears on stage from Ms Foo, and from Ms Aw, who was in the audience. "I felt really happy for Audrey, that she made it," said Ms Aw.

Ms Foo, who also won the Best of Nation award for the highest score among Singaporean competitors, said: "Before WorldSkills Singapore, Gladys and I were just hi-bye friends. But through this we grew much closer."


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