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Excellent Coursework Pays Off

Release Of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme May 2020 Results

When the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) announced in end March that the May 2020 final examinations will be cancelled, Lyn Yeo Siew Lyn (Rhythmic Gymnastics) and Kimberly Quek Hwee (Bowling) were shell-shocked. They were the only two student-athletes who were set to take the May final examinations as they are on the Extended International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). The Extended IBDP is only offered to Singapore Sports School’s student-athletes to enable them stretch the completion of the programme to maximise their potential in both sports and studies.

They were both intensely preparing for their preliminary examinations when their studies came to a sudden stop. The IBO had announced that it would determine their final results based on their coursework with the cancellation of examinations due to the global pandemic. This is the first time in history that IBO has had to cancel its examinations.

On hearing the news, Lyn and Kimberly felt anxious and stressed about their final results. However, they had nothing to worry about. On 6 July 2020, anxiety turned into excitement and happiness when they received their results. They had bagged excellent grades, with Lyn scoring 44 points and Kimberly attaining 40 points, out of a maximum of 45 points.

Lyn shared, “I was studying extra hard and had even stopped gymnastics to focus on studies during the last leg of my journey at Sports School. Overnight, I had nothing to do! I was really worried about my grades. However, I am pleasantly surprised that I have done well, and I can only thank my teachers, coaches and friends for giving me such wonderful support.”

Lyn joined Sports School in 2014 when she was in Secondary 2 after learning more about the school from through her older brother, who was then a student-athlete in the school. She felt that the flexible academic structure will enable her to eventually achieve her sporting goal – to compete in a major competition. By 2017, she seemingly achieved her goal as she qualified for the Kuala Lumpur 2017 Southeast Asian Games. However, a month before the Games, she had to pull out as she had to go for a knee surgery. Dejected and depressed, Lyn almost gave up gymnastics. However, she pressed on and eventually made her debut at the Philippines 2019 SEA Games.

Lyn, who could have graduated in end-2018, had extended her IBDP in both 2017 and 2019 to give greater focus towards sports training in the lead-up to the SEA Games.

Kimberly, who graduated alongside Lyn, also joined Sports School in 2014, but as a Secondary 1 student-athlete in bowling. Kimberly has a 95 per cent hearing loss since she was a toddler. However, her hearing impairment has never set her back. She is a determined and hardworking girl who gives her best when she puts her mind to it.

As she started bowling in Primary 5, which is later than many of her peers, she worked doubly hard to move ahead of her peers. Her hard work paid off as she represented Singapore in several competitions, including winning Singapore’s first medal – a bronze – at the Deaflympics in 2017. She had the same attitude in her studies. To fulfil her IBDP requirements, she took up Malay from scratch. Though it was a steep learning curve for her to learn a new language, Kimberly enjoyed it and learnt to appreciate Malay language and culture better.

In her final year of study, while most of her peers were winding down their sport commitments, Kimberly stepped up her training to represent Singapore in the World Deaf Bowling Championships, where she placed 12th and 9th in the singles and doubles events respectively, and the Asia Pacific Deaf Games (cancelled due to Hong Kong protests). Though the competitions clashed with her examinations, she was eager to compete and was allowed by IBO to defer her studies for 6 months.

Kimberly shared, “Through the Extended IBDP, I was able to maximise the time spent on training and go for competitions without compromising my studies. My teachers have also helped me to catch up with schoolwork that I have missed when I was away for competitions by doing one to one consultation sessions. Also, the small class sizes were beneficial for me because I was able to contribute more productively in class discussions and received more personalised attention from my teachers.”

After Lyn’s own personal experience with physiotherapy when she got injured, she hopes to get a place in a local university to work towards becoming a physiotherapist. She shadowed staff from the National Youth Sports Institute over three weeks to gain a better understanding about the job to be certain of her decision. Kimberly, who is on the Deaf Sports Association bowling team would be continuing her training in bowling, while taking up a science-related course at a local university.

We are so proud of these strong, determined and inspirational girls for excelling in both sports and studies. We wish them all the best for their future!