He passed on an offer to study medicine at Imperial College London, preferring to study and practise medicine here.

Mr Ishwarpal Singh Grewal, 20, has another reason for staying put: He plans to continue playing for the national hockey team when he graduates in five years from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) with a joint NTU-Imperial Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree.

The former Raffles Junior College student, who received his white coat yesterday, has been playing hockey for eight years now.

But with his study commitment, Mr Singh will not be as involved in tournaments as before - something he hopes to change after he graduates.

He said: "I would like to continue playing for the team in the future, even though I would have a career by then."

Mr Singh said his interest in medicine started after his grandmother died from liver failure five years ago.

He said: "That was the first time I wanted to help someone badly, but that was not enough - so I applied for attachments, and worked at nursing homes for a while."


Having been exposed to the healthcare system, he feels that practising medicine here will help him chase both his passions.

"The doctors I meet now will help me in terms of networking for the future, and I have always been sure of wanting to work for the Singapore healthcare system," he said.

Admitting that juggling hockey and medical school has been tough for the past week, Mr Singh said his parents and the school played a part in helping him manage time well.

He said: "My parents help me by picking me up from trainings in Sengkang, which is quite a distance from Bukit Timah. By the time I reach home, it is usually 11.30pm - and I have to wake up at 6.30am to be in time for classes .

"I am thankful that the school has done its best to help me out, allowing me to take time off for tournaments as well."

Asked about his plans for the future, he said: "I think I will have a clearer idea of what I want later into the course. For now, I will focus on the studying."