University freshman Alina Seow started horse riding in 2012 as part of physical therapy for her cerebral palsy condition.
Inspired by the Singapore para equestrian Paralympic team, Seow participated and won prizes at local competitions, and built a dream of one day representing Singapore at the Paralympic Games.
However, equestrian lessons and equipment are expensive, and Seow, coming from a humble family, has scrimped and saved from a young age to afford lessons.
In recognition of Seow’s resilience to defy the odds and to support her to go further for her aspiration, the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) decided to select the 22-year-old as one of five recipients of the inaugural Majulah Para Sports Bursary 2021.
“I have been training very hard and my family has made a lot of sacrifices for me to chase this dream,” said Seow.
“I am hoping to have the opportunity to travel overseas for training, classification and to participate in international competitions.
“This would not be possible without the support provided by the bursary and I am thankful to be chosen as a recipient.
“Para equestrian is my passion and I hope to represent Singapore at the Paralympic Games one day,” said Seow, a Smart-City Management & Technology Major at the Singapore Management University.
The Majulah Para Sports Bursary 2021 aims to help persons with disabilities engage meaningfully and successfully in sport.
Introduced by SDSC this year in partnership with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Singapore Foundation, a total of $30,000 was awarded to five deserving persons with disabilities, from more than 40 applications.
The other recipients are Toh Sze Ning, Robby Yeo, Neo Kah Whye and Edmund Tan.
Recipients of the bursary are expected to use the awarded sums for their pursuits in sports, in areas such as coaching, classification, competitions, transportation, nutrition and equipment.
Yeo, a para swimmer, who has Williams Syndrome and Pulmonary Stenosis was introduced to swimming as therapy when only ten months old.
He now trains six times a week and is hoping to follow the footsteps of her idol, Paralympic bronze medallist Theresa Goh.
The 15-year-old is now preparing for the Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG), which will be her first international competition and the first time she represents Singapore.
“I am very happy and excited to receive the bursary. It will help me to get more training done before my first international competition at the Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games, and to afford a good swim suit to compete in.
“This is my first time representing Singapore and it will be a proud moment for my family.
“I hope to do well and achieve new personal bests”, said Yeo, who is a student at Grace Orchard School.
Main Photos: SDSC