Singapore, 16 November 2015 – The winners of The New Paper School Sports Star Award 2015, presented by H-TWO-O, were announced today, with shooter Wong Han Xuan of National Junior College (NJC) and sprinter Diane Hilary Pragasam of the Singapore Sports School (SSS) bagging the boys’ and girls’ accolades respectively.
The duo were picked by a judging panel after a six-month search, which culminated in an award ceremony at the Sports School today. A public voting exercise was also taken into consideration.
Guest-of-Honour Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, presented a trophy, a certificate and a cheque for $3,000 to each winner.
Eight other finalists nominated in the top 10 received a trophy, a certificate and $500 each.
A total of 24 nominees were shortlisted for this year’s School Sports Star Award.
The boys’ winner — NJC student Wong Han Xuan — is a consummate role model.
Last December, the 18-year-old finished third in the junior category of the 38th Southeast Asia Shooting Championships.
He was the president of the school’s shooting club before stepping down in June to prepare for the A levels, but that did not stop him from continuing to help out whenever he can.
Dubbed a “maths and science whiz” by his teachers, he puts his interest in material science to good use. He and two friends are working on a project to build an electronic shooting target board for the team, who has been using paper targets at the range as they felt that electronic targets were too expensive.
The girls’ winner — Singapore Sports School’s Diane Hilary Pragasam — is so determined to reach the top of the sport that she watches her diet even during school holidays.
In the words of her coach, Margaret Oh, the 14-year-old is a “real fighter”. Her hard work paid off at this year’s National Inter School Track and Field Championships where she was the most bemedalled athlete with four gold medals.
In addition to the School Sport Star Award, the S Soocelaraj Award presented by Soilbuild Group, which honours outstanding teacher-coaches, was also given out at the award ceremony today.
Mr Joel Vinson, recipient of the S Soocelaraj Award, received a certificate, a trophy and a cheque for $3,000 for his contributions to First Toa Payoh Primary School.
Making sure that his basketballers pick up the right values early in life, the 29-year-old head of physical education places discipline and ethics above winning medals.
With two other teachers, he also conducts revision sessions with his student-athletes to help them with their schoolwork.
Mr Seah Kiam Meng, 47, a physical education teacher and badminton coach at River Valley High School, finished first runner-up and received a certificate, a trophy and a cheque for $2,000. The second runner-up was Mr Zareen Shariff, 41, the subject head of Malay language and football coach at Loyang Primary School. He received a certificate, a trophy and a cheque for $1,000.
The New Paper School Sports Star Award was launched in 2011 to recognise the best student-athletes in the local school sports scene.
Paddler Chia Shing Kee of Raffles Institution and shooter Chua Shin Yoong of Catholic Junior College won the boys’ and girls’ award respectively last year.
Lim Han Ming, sports editor of The New Paper, said: “It is heartening to see all the nominees and winners displaying positive traits such as leadership, perseverance, discipline and sportsmanship. It is not only the achievements that we are looking for when choosing the winners, but the spirit of industry and endeavour that will put them in good stead for the rest of their sporting careers. We hope that, in recognising and rewarding these student-athletes and teacher-coaches, others will be inspired to follow in their footsteps."
For more information on the winners, visit http://www.tnp.sg/tnpstar15
Photo credit: Jeremy Long, The New Paper
Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (center); Diane Hilary Pragasam, Singapore Sports School sprinter and The New Paper School Sports Star Award girls' winner (fourth from left);
Wong Han Xuan, National Junior College shooter and The New Paper School Sports Star Award boys' winner (fourth from right); Joel Vinson, First Toa Payoh Primary School teacher and recipient of the S Sooceleraj Award (second from right); and Dominic Nathan, editor, The New Paper (first from right).
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