Singapore - The New Paper School Sports Star Award 2013 reached its exciting climax on Nov 18 as hockey and floorball player Jarryl Chan and footballer Sasi Kala Tamang were unveiled as the Boys' and Girls' winners respectively.
The pair were selected by the judging panel as well as via public votes after a five-month search that culminated with an award ceremony held at Bowen Secondary School today, where they each received a trophy, a certificate and $3,000 cash prize. Guest-of-Honour Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, presented the prizes to the winners.
The remaining eight student-athletes in the top 10 finalists received a trophy, a certificate and $500 each. A total of 20 nominees - 10 boys and 10 girls - were in the running for this year's School Sports Star Awards.
Seeking a new challenge, Victoria Junior College floorballer Jarryl, a JC2 student who is on financial assistance, took on hockey this year and scored a valuable late equaliser for his school in the A Division finals, which his school went on to win. He then made it a personal double by helping his school claim the A Division floorball title two weeks later. His achievement was made possible with personal sacrifices and intense training schedules.
Bowen Secondary's football captain Sasi, the daughter of Gurkha inspector Ekraj Tamang, has picked up an individual award every year since she joined her school (Most Valuable Player 2011, Golden Boot 2012, Most Promising Player 2013). The Secondary Three student also displayed her leadership abilities when she brought her teammates to victory in the B Division finals against Woodlands Secondary School, who were the defending champions and the favourite to win.
Described as a "tigress" on the pitch, she works year after year to add new dimensions to her game having evolved from an attacking midfielder into a striker. While she is a Nepalese citizen, Sasi is open to the idea of representing Singapore, the country of her birth, some day and is keen to defend Bowen's title next season.
Raffles Institution A Division girls' football teacher-coach Mr Leong Chee Mun was the recipient of this year's S Soocelaraj Award. He was selected from a pool of four nominees that included Raffles Institution table tennis teacher-coach Tan Chiew Sern as well as basketball teacher-coaches Toh Lin Sin and Danny Wong from Nanyang Girls' High School and Dunman Secondary School respectively.
Mr Leong stood out from the rest for his approach in taking beginners and coaching them into outstanding student footballers. As the winner, he received a trophy, a certificate and $5,000 cash prize while the other three nominees took home $500 each.
The New Paper School Sports Star Award was launched in 2011 to recognise the best student-athletes in the local school sports scene. The main focus of the award is on the contributions that sportsboys and sportsgirls make to their schools, with sporting achievements considered a bonus. More importantly, the New Paper School Sports Star Award aims to recognise sportsmanship as well.
Raffles Institution's comeback sailor Jonathan Yeo and Crescent Girls' School softball player Seko Aiko were last year's Boys' and Girls' winners respectively.
Mr. S Murali, Sports Editor of The New Paper, said: "The New Paper is well known for its sports coverage and we are proud to continue honouring the best student-athletes and teacher-coaches in Singapore. Jarryl and Sasi are worthy winners of this year's award while Mr Leong's approach of coaching beginners into champions is very much in the right spirit of the S Soocelaraj Award."
The New Paper School Sports Star Award is sponsored by H-TWO-O while the new S. Soocelaraj Award is presented by the Soilbuild Group.