'Perfect' role model Tamara gets scholarship

Singapore gymnast Tamara Ong, 15, is the "perfect" role model for her younger counterparts, according to Singapore Gymnastics general manager Karen Norden.

"She's the one who contacts us with regular updates on her progress and she is driven by her own ambition," she said.

"That's the kind of athlete we want - one who takes ownership of her own career and destiny."

Besides her attitude, Tamara's success at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires was also celebrated yesterday.

She received a scholarship worth over $6,000 from the NTUC Fairprice Foundation after she won a gold medal at the YOG.

The Melbourne-based student was part of a 13-athlete squad that clinched the gold in the multi-discipline mixed-nation event.

Mixed-nation events are a special feature of the YOG in a bid to build friendships among athletes, but their medals are not added to a country's overall medal tally.

Norden received the scholarship on Tamara's behalf from NTUC FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng. Also present were Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin and YOG chef de mission Tao Li.

"Receiving the scholarship is a pleasant surprise and I'm extremely grateful for this recognition and support," said the Methodist Ladies' College Melbourne student in a statement.

Norden hopes Tamara's achievement will inspire other young gymnasts to believe in themselves more and take ownership of their progress in the sport.

"We've been doing a lot with education on taking care of themselves to make them take ownership of their own career paths," she said.

"Sometimes I think they lack the belief that they can do it. With Tamara representing Singapore at such a major event... I'm hoping that all the others will know that they, too, can achieve it."

The NTUC FairPrice Foundation Sports Scholarship Tamara received is of cash value and recipients can claim expenses such as tuition fees, coaching fees and equipment costs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline ''Perfect' role model Tamara gets scholarship'. Print Edition | Subscribe