Students with special needs set new Guinness World Record with iFly Singapore

Jude Sharandev from AWWA School joining in the attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most number of continuous tandem skydives over a four-hour period. The record-setting feat was achieved at iFly Singapore’s 8th Anniversary Dreams Take Flight celebration at iFly Sentosa on May 24, 2019. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Ten-year-old Yvette Ang En Hui has no fear of heights.

On Friday (May 24), Yvette, who has Down Syndrome, was one of 31 students, aged between eight and 16, from AWWA School who set a Guinness World Record in indoor tandem skydiving.

The record of 300 flights was achieved by a team of 80, which included volunteers and teachers, and 18 skydivers from iFly Singapore, a vertical wind tunnel for indoor skydiving on Sentosa. The previous record of 227 flights was held solely by iFly Singapore.

When asked by The Straits Times what she liked about flying, Yvette said she felt like comic superhero Supergirl and added that when she grows up she wants to be like the instructors in the wind tunnel, helping others to fly.

In conjunction with its eighth anniversary, iFly Singapore organised Friday's event with AWWA School when it learnt that the school was raising funds for a second facility.

Mr Lawrence Koh, iFly Singapore's chief executive officer, said: "Championing this initiative with AWWA School for our eighth anniversary celebration today was a natural decision... We hope it gives them (the students) the confidence to embrace their dreams."

At the end of the event, a total of $50,900 was raised for AWWA School's building fund. The school has said it needs to raise $1.2 million for the new building, which will be ready in 2021. The new school will admit 300 children with moderate to severe autism.

AWWA School principal Ruby Seah, who was at the event on Friday, told The Straits Times that she was delighted that the children were given the opportunity to participate in such an activity and prove to others that "they can do it" despite their disabilities.

She said: "The whole idea is to give them the opportunity. We must always believe that they can do it. There is room for improvement but I can see that Singaporeans are more welcoming, I can see a lot of effort put into including special needs people in society."

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin was also involved in Friday's event, clocking the 300th flight.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin (in red helmet) was also involved in Friday's event, clocking the 300th flight. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

He spoke about developing a culture of volunteerism and building a more caring and inclusive society in Singapore.

"The children, teachers and volunteers from AWWA School, para-athletes and professional indoor skydivers have all come together today to show that nothing is impossible as long as our hearts, minds and spirit are united in a common purpose of doing good.

"This is important in a society like Singapore, where we celebrate diversity and recognise the contribution of individuals from all walks of life," Mr Tan said.

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