SINGAPORE - Two months before the National School Games (NSG) A Division bowling tournament in April, Alyssa Koh injured her right hand and was forced to take a break from training, leading to worries about how it would affect her performance.
But her fears were unfounded as the 17-year-old won the girls' singles and clinched the doubles, quartet and all-events title with her teammates in a clean sweep for Anglo-Chinese Junior College, who went on to win their third consecutive overall title.
For her achievements, Alyssa was awarded her second Singapore Schools Sports Council (SSSC) Best Sportsgirl accolade. She and 1,297 student-athletes will be recognised for their sporting achievements and good character in the 51st SSSC Colours Award, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a press statement on Thursday (Sept 30).
The SSSC Best Sportsboy and Sportsgirl awards will also be handed out to 15 students from 12 schools, while 38 students will receive the SSSC Colours Award (Distinction).
Alyssa said she was surprised but happy to be named Best Sportsgirl again and thanked her teammates, coaches and teachers for their support, particularly during the NSG when they helped to hype them up by using handheld clappers as high fives and shouting were prohibited.
"(My teammates and I) did extremely well. I have to thank my teammates for my titles as well. It's not just my effort, it's also theirs and it's really amazing to see our hard work pay off in the end and we were able to bring glory to our school," said Alyssa, who joined the national development squad in 2019.
"It's a huge motivation for me to continue to put in effort and see where my bowling career leads me. Hopefully I get to win more in the future for my country one day."
For Best Sportsgirl recipient Sarah Chan, the accolade was extra special as it came after she helped Singapore Chinese Girls' School win their first B Division tennis title after 21 years.
The Secondary 4 student said winning the gold was one of the most memorable and proudest moments in her school life.
The 16-year-old said: "Our team actually made it to the semi-finals last year but when the NSG got cancelled due to the pandemic, I was quite upset about it as I was all geared up to play. When we found out this year that the NSG was going to happen again, we felt very privileged to be able to even compete as we know that many other CCAs (co-curricular activities) had their games cancelled.
"Being able to win it is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life."
Edgefield Secondary's taekwondo exponent Germaine Loi, who won the B Division black belt 1 individual and team titles, also won the Best Sportsgirl award.
The Secondary 4 student, who helped her school win the overall division championship, said: "Training at home last year was very challenging because there was limited space. There also wasn't as much preparation time for this year's NSG so we just had to work harder when in-person training resumed in January.
"I reminded myself to remain positive as I know this pandemic will come to pass and I'm improving for other competitions that might come back after the pandemic."
This year's awards were judged on the student-athletes' sporting performance from Sept 1, 2020 to Aug 31, 2021. The prizes will be presented to the recipients by their respective schools during suitable school-based ceremonies in view of prevailing safe management measures.
Nearly 12,000 student-athletes competed in this year's NSG which featured just 12 of the competition's 29 sports. The competition started in March with the A, B and senior divisions, but was suspended from May 8 and later cancelled in June for the second consecutive year owing to Covid-19.
The junior and C Division competitions were initially scheduled to begin in Term 3, which started on June 28, but did not take place.
In its statement, the MOE said that it will "continue to closely monitor the public health situation and work towards the safe resumption of the NSG 2022, if conditions permit".