SINGAPORE - Swimmer Danielle Moi had been working towards qualifying for the Tokyo Paralympic Games earlier this year when the coronavirus pandemic threw the global swimming competition calendar into disarray.
With training and competitions on hold, the 21-year-old, who has intellectual impairment, had to adjust to home-based fitness sessions to keep herself fit and seek her family's extended financial support to continue chasing her dream as the Paralympics were postponed to 2021.
For her drive to succeed against the odds, Moi has been selected as one of 36 recipients of this year's Haw Par Para Sports Bursary Award.
Moi, who has since resumed her routine of at least eight pool sessions a week, said: "I have been training very hard and my family has made a lot of sacrifices for me to chase this dream.
"I am very happy to receive the Haw Par Para Sports Bursary Award that would allow me to continue training, upgrade my equipment and offset the cost of competing overseas. I want to earn the right to represent Singapore at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games."
The Haw Par Para Sports Bursary Award was launched in 2018 under a partnership between the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) and Haw Par Corporation to support Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) who face financial challenges to pursue their sporting dreams.
Factors such as occupation, household income, support needs, current performance and reasons for application are taken into account by the selection committee.
This year's awards saw an increase in recipients from 31 to 36 across 11 para sports, bringing Haw Par Corporation's support for the bursaries to a total of $131,500 over three years. Each awardee received between $900 and $1,800.
The youngest recipient is cyclist Nur Amsyar Abdemanaf, 20, while the oldest is lawn bowler Aisah Ibrahim, 74.
Haw Par Corporation president and chief executive officer Wee Ee Lim said: "In such challenging times, our para athletes and the community have demonstrated an indomitable spirit to continue training hard.
"The Haw Par Para Sports Bursary allows us to support and be a part of our para athletes' journeys. Our para athletes are sources of inspiration for all Singaporeans and we are proud of all they have achieved."
In line with Covid-19 safe distancing measures, there was no gathering of recipients and their loved ones for this year's awards. Instead, the awards and "Back to Sport" care packages, comprising sports accessories and handwritten messages by Haw Par Corporation employees, were presented to the recipients individually.
Thanking Haw Par Corporation for their support, SDSC president Teo-Koh Sock Miang said that the additional resources for its programmes will help "introduce sport to more PWDs" and allow more to lead active and healthy lives.