Joie spurred on by tragedy
Wing attack Joie Chia was one of the standout performers for her school, Cedar Girls' Secondary School, as they thrashed Pasir Ris Crest Secondary 27-9 in a girls' B Division East Zone preliminary netball tie at Dunman Secondary yesterday.
The 15-year-old was described by her coach, national player Kwok Shuyi, as strong and steady after the match, but the motivation behind Joie's skills and drive stems from a tragic accident two years ago.
Then a Secondary 1 student, Joie and her netball team had set up a booth during the school's open house to promote the sport.
At the event, the Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) alumnus was trying to convince her close friend and junior Rachel Ho to go for Cedar's Direct School Admission (DSA) trials that year.
But Rachel never made it to the trials, as she was one of six TKPS pupils who died in the June 2015 earthquake while climbing Mount Kinabalu.
"I was really devastated. But it made me really want to do well to make her proud. That's what she would have wanted," said Joie, who helped Cedar finish in the top four at the C Division Nationals that year.
"Even now, I'm not completely over it - but it constantly pushes me to improve myself."
Her mother, Maggie, also plays an active role in supporting Joie both psychologically and physically in her netball pursuits.
Maggie has been a loyal spectator at every match her daughter has played in since she took up the sport five years ago.
A former senior audit manager with Deloitte, Maggie studied the sport so she could "communicate in the same language" as her daughter, who aims to make the national Under-17 team.
Said Joie: "I don't think I'm at that level yet, but I've been watching national games and, if I have a chance to be a part of the U-17 team, I would really want it."