SINGAPORE – In 2012, Alina Seow began riding horses as part of physical therapy for her cerebral palsy.
She went on to compete and win awards in local competitions after being inspired by the Singapore Paralympic Equestrian Team and the Singapore University of Management undergraduate also hopes to someday compete in the Paralympic Games.
But pursuing his passion is also costly and Seow had to scrimp and save to afford lessons.
The 22-year-old received a boost on Tuesday, November 9 when the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) announced that she was one of five recipients of the first 2021 Majulah Para Sports scholarship.
The scholarship, which aims to help people with disabilities to meaningfully and successfully engage in sport, was introduced by SDSC this year in partnership with the Singapore Foundation of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) .
A total of $ 30,000 was awarded to the five recipients, who were selected from over 40 applicants.
The scholarship recipients must use the allocated funds for their sporting activities, in areas such as training, classification, competitions, transportation, nutrition and equipment.
Seow said: “I have trained really hard and my family has sacrificed a lot to make this dream come true.
“I hope to have the opportunity to travel abroad to train, rank and participate in international competitions.”
Another recipient was swimmer Robby Yeo, who suffers from Williams syndrome and pulmonary stenosis.
Robby, who started swimming as therapy at the age of 10 months, now trains six times a week and hopes to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Paralympic bronze medalist Theresa Goh.
The 15-year-old is now preparing for the Asian Paralympic Youth Games (AYPG) December 2-6 in Bahrain, which is her first international competition and the first time she has represented Singapore in a competition.
Coincidentally, Goh is the Chef de Mission of the AYPG.
Student from Grace Orchard School said, “I am very happy and delighted to receive the scholarship. This will help me train more before my first international competition at the Asian Youth Paralympic Games and provide me with a good swimsuit to compete. . “
The other three recipients are boccia players Edmund Tan, Neo Kah Whye and Toh Sze Ning. Tan is also a wheelchair soccer player.
Ryosuke Shimizu, Secretary General of JCCI Singapore Foundation, said: “We believe that people with disabilities should be entitled to a quality of life just like non-disabled people, and encouraged to pursue their aspirations equally.
“We are therefore delighted to be the founding donor of the Majulah Para Sports scholarship and we hope to see others come forward to support this program.”
SDSC Executive Director Kelly Fan added, “In addition to supporting top para-athletes like Yip Pin Xiu (swimmer) and Syahidah Alim (archer), SDSC works with our partners to help other people with disabilities to transform their lives through different levels of sport participation.
“We are grateful that the foundation is walking with us on this long but precious journey, and hope that we can continue to help more people in the years to come.”