SINGAPORE - They have inspired their teammates and won the admiration of their school mates, coaches and teachers.
You have read stories over the past five months on how 23 student-athletes - nominees for The New Paper School Sports Star Award this year - have overcome personal difficulties to achieve results, both in the sporting arena as well as in the classroom, for some.
The award was introduced in 2011 to honour student-athletes who are excellent role models, even if they are not the best practitioners in their respective sports.
The range of nominees this year is diverse - at one end of the spectrum are national athletes such as sailor Ynez Lim, gymnast Aizat Jufrie and water polo player Neo Ser Han, who have flown the Singapore flag at the South-east Asia Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Asiad.
At the other end are athletes such as cager John Christopher and footballer Muhd Indra Moraga, who were once considered not good enough for their respective sports, but worked hard to become indispensable cogs in their school teams.
Then, there are stories of selflessness - netballer Dahlia Asni has had to juggle training and studies, as well as caring for her cancer-stricken grandmother, while squash player Denise Lim passed up on the opportunity to represent the Combined Schools team earlier this year so that more junior players could take her place.
These are tales that embody the essence of sport: hard work, fighting spirit, leadership and sacrifice.
We want you to help us choose the boys' and girls' winners again.
On the right, you will see a brief profile of all 23 nominees, and you can read their stories in full on tnp.sg/sss.
The same web page will allow you to vote for your top 10 student-athletes - five boys and five girls.
Your votes, along with an internal panel, will go towards the selection of the 10 finalists, from which the two winners will be chosen. You will have until next Tuesday (Oct 28) to pick the 10 athletes who resonate with you most.
JOHN CHRISTOPHER (Basketball) Unity Secondary
The 1.62m-tall shooting guard was once teased for being too short for the sport, but helped his school win the B Division title.
AIZAT JUFRIE (Gymnastics) Raffles Institution
The 18-year-old decided to defer his 'A' Levels by a year to focus on training for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
CHIA SHING KEE (Table tennis) Raffles Institution
The 14-year-old went through surgery on his hip when he was 10 and defied doctor's orders to return to training early because he missed it so much.
MARCUS TANG (Football) Tanjong Katong Secondary School
The 14-year-old suffered at least four injuries in 18 months, but helped his school do well in the Schools National B Division football competition.
CHAN ZHE YING (Track and field) Catholic Junior College
The triple jumper wanted to hang up his spikes due to a lack of success, but gave it a last shot and won the A Division title.
AMIRUL AFIQ BAKTHIAR (Floorball) Raffles Institution
He scored the winning goals in the semi-final (7-5 win over Meridien Junior College) and final (3-2 win over Anglo-Chinese Junior College), notching up 10 goals as he propelled RI to the title.
MARK SHEN (Volleyball) Nanyang Junior College
Coached by his father every Sunday for a long time, Shen emerged as a star in his school's volleyball team, which won the national title for the past two years.
NOR HAKIM REDZWAN (Football) Crest Secondary School
The 14-year-old scored 21 goals in 18 games and helped his school finish second in the C Division football competition.
ANG ZI YANG (Basketball) Bukit Panjang Government High
The 1.74m-tall Zi Yang loves scoring, but became a point guard because of his height and helped his school to win the West Zone title in March.
MUHD INDRA MORAGA (Football) Hong Kah Secondary School
Once considered not good enough for the sport, the vice-captain helped his team retain their C Division title, and outperformed most of his peers in the mid-year examinations, despite being promoted from the Normal (Academic) to Express streams only this year.
NATALIE SOH (Cross country) Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School
The 16-year-old won the girls' B Division cross-country title with an unusual training method - she chases after and tries to outrun buses.
CHUA SHIN YOONG (Shooting) Catholic Junior College
She gave up the sport in secondary school because of a lack of interest, but picked it up again after she was assigned the same air pistol in her junior college.
NUR SHAHIDAH LIAQUATH ALI (Netball) Clementi Town Secondary School
She quit the sport for almost a year after her previous coach punished the entire team for minor mistakes she made during training.
But she rejoined the team with a new coach and has been described as one of the best players the coach has ever guided.
NUR FARAH HANI (Hockey) Millennia Institute
The national player is the captain and "assistant coach" to her school team, helping her teammates improve through extra training sessions.
DENISE LIM (Squash) Raffles Institution
The 18-year-old passed up on the opportunity to represent the Combined Schools team earlier this year so that younger players could take her place.
ALEXANDRA STEWART (Netball) Singapore Sports School
The school captain led her team to the C Division final in April, when they lost to CHIJ (Toa Payoh). She also worked hard in her studies - moving from the Normal (Academic) stream to the Express stream.
TONG KAH MUN (Gymnastics) Nanyang Junior College
Kah Mun swept all four individual categories - hoop, ball, clubs and ribbons - at the Schools' National Rhythmic Gymnastics championships to finish as the top individual overall.
CHARLENE ONG (Netball) St Margaret's Secondary School
Charlene's speed and aggression on court helped her school secure a top-four spot in the National and Zonal Championships, but has been described as reserved, shy and mature off the court.
ARFYNNA SHAKIRA SARIMAN (Hockey) Crescent Girls' School
She led her team, said to be one of the weakest in the school's history, to their first win at the Nationals in 14 years this year when Crescent lifted the B Division title.
YNEZ LIM (Sailing) St Anthony's Canossian Secondary School
She won a silver in the RS:One class at the SEA Games last year and clinched the girls' Techno 293 bronze at the SIM Singapore Open Asian Windsurfing Championships early this year.
JEAN LINH (Canoeing) Damai Secondary School
She capsized in her first-ever race four years ago, but won the B Division K4-1,000m event this year, and is described as competent and compassionate as a student.
NEO SER HAN (Water polo) Raffles Institution
She scored twice in RI's 7-2 A Division final win over Temasek Junior College in the final in April, and has represented Singapore at the SEA Games and Asiad.
DAHLIA ASNI (Netball) CHIJ Secondary School (Toa Payoh)
The goal defender helped her school win the C Division title last year, and finish second in the B Division this year, while juggling her studies and caring for her cancer-stricken grandmother.
This article was first published on October 23, 2014.
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