Hockey: Fantastic Farah
Unlike many of The New Paper's School Sports Star nominees this year, final-year Millennia Institute (MI) student Nur Farah Hani did not win a national schools' title.
But what makes the 19-year-old hockey player stand out is that she dons three hats for her school team - player, captain and "assistant coach".
"She's like an assistant to me out on the pitch," gushed MI hockey coach Nordin Manaff. "Simply put, she is to MI hockey what Lionel Messi is to the Argentina football team."
Farah, who has been playing hockey since the age of eight, goes far beyond what your average school athlete would do.
Being the only national player in the MI team - she was called up to the senior women's team when she was just 16 - she took it upon herself to help her teammates.
After Nordin made her captain last year, Farah began organising extra sessions for her teammates to sharpen their basic skills through drills.
Once they were ready, she would gradually progress to working with them on simple set-plays.
The soft-spoken Farah, who also plays for Jansenites in the National Women's League, told The New Paper: "I felt it was just something I had to do. It was my job to help my teammates improve.
"I have a lot of belief in the team and I know they can achieve a lot. It was great because everybody was willing to learn. It drives me to want to do more."
The extra effort was not in vain.
While MI have not managed to break Victoria Junior College's (VJC) 12-year stranglehold on the A Division girls' title, they secured creditable top-four finishes over the last two years.
The team's third-placed finish last year was their best performance since MI was formed in 2004, following the merger of the Outram and Jurong centralised institutes.
With a sparkle in her eye, Farah said that the proudest moment playing for the MI team was during the semi-final against VJC last year.
"With about seven DSA (direct school admission) players, VJC are the best team, but we put up a very good fight," she said.
"We were the underdogs, but we held them 0-0 until the last 15 minutes, when the lightning warning system sounded.
"They won the replay 5-0 the next day, but the fighting spirit the team showed in the first game made me really proud."
Apart from hockey, the slim, 1.64-metre tall lass is also a track athlete and plays floorball for her school house, of which she is also the captain.
But it is her wizardry with the stick which she will be most fondly remembered for, as she prepares to leave the school at the end of the year.
MI's teacher-in-charge of hockey Azra Shazeaa said: "Farah has had a huge impact on our team. She's been representing MI in hockey since Year 1, but her most significant contributions were in her capacity as captain in the last two years.
"She really has a strong passion for the game, and she wants to see MI succeed, so that's why she's done so much for the team."
Nordin, who has been the hockey coach at MI for the past 17 years (at Jurong Institute before 2004), paid the biggest compliment to Farah. "In terms of calibre and leadership, I have never had a player like her," said the former national player.
"In previous years, MI has had good players who weren't very good leaders, or good leaders who were not quite at that calibre she's at.
"She's a standout."
SMART HYDRATION TIPS FOR SPORTS ENTHUSIASTS
Choose isotonic drinks
To restore lost fluids, electrolytes and minerals that your body has lost during sports so that you can stay ahead of your game.
Weigh yourself before and after exercise
For every 1 kg of weight lost, replenish with 1 litre of fluid consumption. Inadequate fluid replenishment will affect your muscle recovery and hinder your performance.
Avoid carbonated or fizzy drinks
It may cause bloating, nausea and stomach discomfort.
infused drinks It can cause kidneys to produce more urine and lead to dehydration.
This article was first published on July 17, 2014.
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