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AID FOR ATHLETES: National synchronised swimmer Geraldine Chew (above) has benefited from her school Nanyang Polytechnic’s flexibility in swopping her modules around in aid of her goldwinning SEA Games campaign last year.
PUMP IT UP: (Above) A student working out on the SYNRGY360 machine, the centrepiece in Nanyang Polytechnic's enhanced BodyWatch Gym. The machine allows up to 16 people to use it at the same time.

When synchronised swimmer Geraldine Chew was preparing for last year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games campaign, she wanted to cut down on her schoolwork to focus on training and competition.

Her school, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), allowed her to swop her modules around so that her workload was lightened.

The 20-year-old went on to win the team and free combination golds at the Games.

The flexibility in customising a student-athlete's academic schedule was formalised yesterday, with NYP officially coming on board the Sports Excellence Education programme.

NYP is the latest, and eighth institute of higher learning to enter this scheme.

The scheme, administered by the Singapore Sports Institute, helps carded student-athletes integrate elite sports with academic pursuits.

Students in the programme will be assigned a staff mentor, who will advise and help them in blending studies and sports accordingly.

While the scheme applies to NYP's School of Business Management (SBM) - where most of the elite athletes are likely to hail from - NYP plans to eventually apply the Spex Education programme to its other schools.

SBM senior director Henry Heng said: "That flexibility is something that we have to put in a bit of resources... and we are prepared to do so, because we believe that it is important for our students to continue to pursue their passion."

In addition, the SBM and the School of Interactive and Digital Media formed partnerships with Fox International Channels and Infinite Studios respectively yesterday.

NYP also launched expanded facilities such as its BodyWatch Gym, a media hub and a media studio.

Improved equipment in these facilities include an integrated multi-station fitness apparatus SYNRGY360, and international broadcast studio equipment.


Up to 16 people can use SYNRGY360 at the same time, and it can be used for indoor circuit training.

NYP is the first polytechnic in Singapore to have this machine.

National athletes and NYP alumni such as footballer Hariss Harun and para-shuttler Tay Wei Ming marvelled at the 929 sqm gym, which is also used by Diploma in Sport and Wellness Management students for their attachment programme on how to manage and operate a gym.

Hariss, 25, said: "This gym is spectacular and much bigger than the old one. I have never done it (circuit training on the SYNRGY360) before, and maybe NSAs (national sports associations) can explore the option of training here."

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