Students come to Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to pursue their respective course of study. But how about other endeavours such as sports? Do students likewise get to chase those passions to fruition? Undoubtedly.
Coming to SP is the first step towards achieving a quality tertiary education. It is an institution of choice. Yet, there is much more to the SP experience than academic advantages.
For quite a few students, SP is also a place that facilitates and augments their sporting ambitions. It is not uncommon to find many accomplished sportspeople on campus. Some have even won medals at regional and global sports events, successfully pursuing their passion in sports while juggling academic commitments.
Striking Gold and Glory
Talented bowler Jasmine Yeong-Nathan receiving the Sportswoman of the Year Award in 2008
One prime example is Jasmine Yeong-Nathan, a history-maker in Singapore’s sports scene.
This School of Communication, Arts & Social Sciences alumna achieved a milestone never before accomplished. In 2008, she created history by becoming the first Singaporean to win the American Machine and Foundry (AMF) Bowling World Cup title.
The remarkable feat was made when Jasmine was only 20, while she was still in the third year of her Diploma in Media & Communication course. As she recalls, “becoming a world champion was a dream come true,” and when she returned to school following her historic triumph, peers cheerfully congratulated the crowned bowling champ.
For Jasmine, bowling has been a passion since she was a young girl watching her brother bowl. He too was a national bowler. In no time at all, her love and aptitude for the sport spurred her to play competitively, not only locally, but regionally and internationally as well.
When it came time to pursue her diploma, she quickly found that SP was not about to let her bowling scores suffer while she chased good grades.
“The poly’s support enabled me to continue competing at a high level even while I was studying,” says Jasmine.
“The flexibility of the school schedule allowed me to go for tournaments and training, and I was lucky to have the support of lecturers who granted me time off and leaves of absence to pursue my bowling passions.”
By the time Jasmine graduated in 2009, her strong grades proved the school’s faith in her was warranted. Furthermore, that year was also when she received yet more sporting accolades. She was conferred both the Singapore Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year and the SP Sportswoman of the Year awards.
Looking back on those poly days from her office at the renowned audit, tax and advisory firm, KPMG, Jasmine reminisces with pride on those glory years of SP, studies and sports.
“SP is a strong supporter of sports. Without that, I might not be where I am right now. Sports enthusiasts should take full advantage of the amazing facilities at the poly. Some simple advice – study hard, play hard and enjoy your time there!”
Striking Hard and Heavy
Repeat medalist S Sinnathurai is also featured in the 1999 publication “Tribute: Singapore Polytechnic”
There is also the hard-hitting case of Taekwondo multi-medallist S Sinnathurai, who hit both books and sports with aplomb to win the SP Sportsman of the Year award in 1996 and graduate with a Diploma in Electrical Engineering in 1997.
Inspired by martial arts movies in his childhood, Sinnathurai took up Taekwondo wanting to master the masterful kicks of his idols, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. Kicking and striking, he wrested an impressive array of medals for himself in short order. We’re talking gold medals in the Asia Cities Gold Cup Invitational Championships of 1996 and the National Open of 1992; a silver medal in the 1992 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games; as well as bronze medals in the 1991 and 1995 SEA Games!
The 1995 SEA Games and 1996 Asia Cities Invitational medals hold special meaning for Sinnathurai as those were medals he won while at SP, which led to his receiving the 1996 SP Sportsman of the Year award. More than feathers in his cap, the medals proved to him that he had indeed made a wise choice in choosing SP.
“My time in SP gave me a foundation in sports, education and career. With the abundance of academic and athletic resources available, I had every assurance that SP was the place for me to nurture both studies and sports,” says Sinnathurai.
Sinnathurai reveals that SP was very supportive of his sporting passions. Not wanting to hold him back, the then Department of Electrical Engineering excused him from class during overseas stints and competitions. Plus, not wanting him to lag behind, staff members and fellow course mates made concerted efforts to ensure Sinnathurai’s academic performance was strong.
“My lecturers and classmates were very caring and supportive. When I participated in major competitions and returned with medals, they were proud of my achievements as they had witnessed how much effort I had invested in the sport. They would even help me catch up with my schoolwork and guide me through the tutorials and questions. Exam periods were especially memorable. We had a study group that would stay in school and revise modules, and we helped each other prepare for the exams. The friendship and
esprit de corp formed over those SP years has stayed strong for 20 years now!”
Today, Sinnathurai attributes his strong foundation in sports, education and career to SP
Sinnathurai is today an accomplished professional holding a Master of Business Administration degree and a University of New South Wales Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, which he obtained on a Singapore Sports Council scholarship.
Sinnathurai has nothing but words of encouragement to say to the next generation of passionate sportspeople in SP: “If you have a passion in sports, it will challenge you and pave your way to success. Sports gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams and MBA, and it teaches you about many aspects of life – such as discipline, fair play, perseverance, time management and social skills.”
Striking Your Study-Sports Balance
You’ll indeed get to exercise brain and body to the fullest here in SP. The huge campus is filled with top-class sports facilities, and with more than 120 clubs and sports teams, there is every opportunity to lead a dynamic and well-rounded student life. So come on in and pursue your passions with us!