HELP University honours its sports achievers

HELP’s sport achievers continue to win accolades both at international, national and university level, the most recent being the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the 5th Asian Poomsae Taekwondo Championship 2018 in Vietnam.

HELP also emerged champions in the Universities Basketball League 2018, in both the women’s and men’s section, with Gashvinder Singh and Fang Bi Yi being declared most valuable players in their respective sections.

Professor Datuk Dr Paul Chan, who attended the special Achievers’ Awards Ceremony at HELP University said that excelling in sports was one way of developing well-rounded students with leadership skills, discipline and determination to achieve their goals.

According to Datin Chan Low-Kam Yoke, CEO of the HELP Education Group, who was also present, nurturing sports achievers has always been HELP’s contribution toward nation building. Datin Chan believes sports achievers have to be also equipped with educational qualifications, such that upon completion of their sports careers, they could find employment and thus was born the CEO Sports Scholarship Award. One of the earliest recipients of the Award was Soo Beng Kiang, top Malaysian shuttler and world ranked badminton player who studied at HELP in 1998.

Since 1986, among the top athletes who completed their studies at HELP while competing both at national and state level were Lydia Cheah, international badminton player; Joel van Huizen, national Hockey player; Kevin Loke, national tennis player; Liew Shwu-Jenn and Liew Shwu-Lynn, two sisters who were national taekwondo sportswomen; Chu Soo Jiin, national table tennis player; and Sheena Ayesha Dina Rizal, who represented Malaysia in bowling.

The CEO Sports Scholarship Award entitles Malaysian national athletes a 50% bursary on their tuition fees; while state athletes qualify for a 30% bursary, and this has propelled HELP to the top of the rung as a sports university where HELP has emerged champion at the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (MAPCU) for 11 years out of a total of 14 years, a feat which Anthony Silvarajoo, Director of the Department of Student Activities (DSA) is proud of.

“From the beginning, DSA has been nurturing sports, especially hosting events such as the annual HELP Sports Carnival where 19 types of sports are available for students to compete in, from athletics, football, netball, volleyball, badminton tablet-tennis and even bowling. There is also Sports Award Day where HELP athletes who represented HELP University at national and state level are honoured.”

Soniia Cheah, a national badminton player, who is completing her A-levels on a full scholarship, chose HELP because of its tolerance towards her strenuous training schedules at the international level. Soniia is ranked internationally, as she is the winner of the silver medal in the team event at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and winner of 2 silver medals in the 29th SEA Games 2017. She was one of the recipients who was honoured at the Award Ceremony with a cash incentive; Soniia hopes to complete her studies soon. Sara Yap, a silver medalist in the mixed pair event at the 5th Asian Taekwondo Championship 2018 in Vietnam, and gold medalist at the 2017 SEA Games has ambitions of completing her psychology degree soon and attends classes when her training schedule allows her to.

“I am happy to receive the cash incentive for my achievements and it’s a great feeling to be recognized as it has been a tough act juggling the schedule for training and my classes but I chose HELP because they support my sports career.”

Professor Dato’ Dr Zakaria Ahmad, currently Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia as well as Vice-President of DSA, HELP University, was once a national gymnast. He currently holds the position of President of the Malaysian Gymnastic Federation and feels that sports is a vital component of any good university as it builds team work and character into the fabric of the student.

Kannan Subramanian, fitness coach and former national runner, is a staff in DSA, and provides support to HELP athletes while arranging their transport schedules for training and fitness programmes.

“In 2018, HELP made history at the Sukan Institut Pengajian Tinggi (SUKIPT) when HELP was placed 9 out of 84 institutions, with 7 golds, 2 silver and 6 bronze among private and government institutions. This was the pinnacle of many years of practice and hard work and we had been improving in our rankings over the years.”

Kannan hopes that HELP continues to be recognized as a sports university, attracting Malaysia’s best talents.