Skip to content

Getting to the Heart of Sports Excellence

12 Feb 2014

Beyond winning competitions, integrity and grit are what matters most in sports.

Dunman High Lee Tai Yu awarded Sportsmanship Award

Lee Tai Yu (left), a Secondary Three student in Dunman High School was awarded the Sportsmanship Award at the National School Games. He is seen with his teacher, Mrs Chew-Tan Bee Hong (right).

'It came naturally to me - I just knew it was the right thing to do,' said Lee Tai Yu, a Secondary Three student in Dunman High School who was awarded the Sportsmanship Award at this year's National School Games.

During a close doubles game at the National Inter-School Badminton Championships last year, Ngee Ann Secondary School had smashed the shuttlecock out of play and the umpire awarded the point to Dunman High.

What happened next was a surprise. Tai Yu went up to the umpire and told him that he had touched the shuttlecock before it went out of play. The umpire reversed his decision and the point went to Ngee Ann Secondary, which won the match eventually. Another surprise was in store. The students and staff of Ngee Ann Secondary were so impressed with Tai Yu's sportsmanship that they applauded Tai Yu and strongly nominated him for the Sportsmanship Award.

'I was sad that we lost the match, but if placed in that situation again, I would not hesitate to do what I did,' said Tai Yu.

Integrity and grit in sports

Beyond winning competitions, integrity and grit are what matters most in sports.

Mrs Chew-Tan Bee Hong, the Subject Head of Physical Education at Dunman High School, was proud that Tai Yu showed moral courage and integrity when tested.

Exemplifying the true meaning of integrity, such displays of character among players and even competing schools, is what makes sports especialy meaningful.

Focus on the Marathon, not the Sprint

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the National School Games 2014, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat emphasised the values of grit, integrity and service honed through sports. 'When our students train, interact with team-mates or opponents, they overcome obstacles and develop grit. The 'grittier' person is focused on winning the marathon, not the sprint,' said Minister Heng.

One such example of a sportsman with grit is National Football Association's (NFA) under-17 Muhammad Ariyan, a Secondary Five student of Seng Kang Secondary School.

The left-midfielder broke his nose at the National Inter-School games after he had a head-on clash with his opponent. Ariyan was devastated that he could not continue competing in the subsequent matches, but that did not deter him from his passion in the sport. After recovering from his injury, Ariyan trained for about two hours every day with the National Football Association and represented Singapore in the Lions City Cup thereafter. He also represented the school at the National School Games (Football) last year.

Ariyan and Mr K.Thanaraj

Mr K.Thanaraj (right), is more than a teacher to Muhammad Ariyan (left). Ariyan sees Mr Thanaraj as a mentor and friend who helps him in his studies and football.

At the same time, Ariyan had to sit for his N-level examinations - which was no mean feat as he had to juggle his studies together with his NFA and CCA commitments.

'Ariyan has grown professionally as a football player. He is one of my key players. However, one thing that I appreciate most about him is his character. He is a good team player and an excellent role model to his juniors,' said Mr K.Thanaraj, the Head-of-Department of Physical Education at the school.

Ariyan admitted that the journey has not always been smooth-sailing, but his passion for football and the importance he places on his education enables him to persevere towards better results - in both the sport and his studies.

The 17 year-old believes that success only comes with determination and grit - attributes that he hopes to carry along to fulfil his goals in life.