Better support system for student-athletes

Sport and wellness management diploma students from Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Business Management using the new BodyWatch Gym's SYNRGY360 fitness station.
Sport and wellness management diploma students from Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Business Management using the new BodyWatch Gym's SYNRGY360 fitness station. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Balancing academics and a budding sporting career is not an easy feat, according to national gymnast Terry Tay.

During competition seasons, the final year sport and wellness management (SWM) student from Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)'s School of Business Management (SBM) had to train six times a week - on top of juggling his studies, which can come in the shape of six gruelling modules per semester.

However, as part of Singapore Sports Institute (SSI)'s Sports Excellence (Spex) Education Scheme, carded athletes like Tay are assigned staff mentors who will advise them on study plans and arrange academic schedules depending on sporting needs.

A new agreement between the SSI and SBM signed yesterday will provide a more structured support system which will allow future student-athletes to better plan their academic needs with staff mentors.

Tay, 22, who won a men's artistic team bronze at June's SEA Games, said: "It is tough especially when you travel overseas for competitions. I have to carry my work with me - Google Docs becomes my best friend."

But now help is on hand, as NYP's SWM course manager Lionel Teo, one of Tay's mentors, pointed out: "The lecturers were informed about his competitions, and they arranged to give him extra lessons and time to complete his assignments and projects."

Peggy Tng, SSI's deputy director of athlete services and development, added: "We (SSI) will share with NYP friendly practices that we've been doing with other institutes of higher learning. These include semester deferring, alternative scheduling of tests, time tables and assignments to promote academic flexibility for athletes."

NYP is the seventh institute to partner SSI, after the three local universities, Republic Polytechnic and the three Institutes of Technical Education.

SBM also entered into a partnership with multi-media company FOX International Channels (FIC) under which students from the diploma in mass media management programme will get the chance to train at FIC-operated facilities through internships and projects.

In addition, NYP's School of Interactive and Digital Media has signed a partnership with Infinite Studios to provide internship and project opportunities for students from its diplomas in visual effects and motion graphics and broadcast design programmes.

The three partnerships were signed during the launch of NYP's new BodyWatch Gym and Media Studio yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2016, with the headline 'Better support system for student-athletes'. Print Edition | Subscribe