Heng to students: Look out for each other during PE

SINGAPORE - Students should look out for each other in physical education lessons, which should be well organised and monitored by their teachers, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Thursday.

This way, lessons can be robust but still safe, he said.

Speaking to parents, teachers and students at the opening of this year's National School Games, Mr Heng said he was "deeply saddened" when two students collapsed and died after PE lessons last month. Temasek Junior College student Nicholas Gan, 13, and Tanglin Secondary's Justin Loo both died in hospital within two days of each other.

"It is my hope that our students will learn to enjoy sports and be physically active adults, right into their eighties, if not beyond. Therefore we must pay attention to safety, starting from young," said Mr Heng. "Safety is everyone's responsibility."

Mr Heng said students and parents should inform their teachers if a student is not feeling well or has just recovered from illness.

The National School Games is Singapore's largest annual youth sports event with 55,000 students competing in 28 sports, from now until August.

Speaking at the Games' opening ceremony at ITE College Central, Mr Heng said the three learning opportunities that sports provides students are grit, integrity and service. "In my view, the most valuable trait that sports develop is grit," he added.

One example of a sportsgirl with grit is national swimmer Samantha Yeo, who will turn 17 this year. The fifth-year Raffles Institution student dislocated her right knee in September - two months before she was due to compete in her third SEA Games in Myanmar.

"I was devastated. When I saw my knee out of its socket, my first thought was, how am I going to compete in the SEA Games? My coach and I were considering giving up on the SEA Games at that point. People who saw my injury said I would need at least three months to recover," she said.

Samantha not only recovered but took home a gold medal in the women's 4x100m medley relay, and a bronze in the women's 200m breaststroke final.


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.