Children dressing up one of their parents during the relay race on Nov 23 at CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School.

By Jared Ng

Always do your best and don’t give up on your dreams.

These were some encouraging words offered by two Singaporean athletes to children from the two student care centres under the Infant Jesus Homes & Children’s Centres (IJHCC) – IJ Galilee Centre and IJ Village.

The athletes were speaking during a sports day organised by IJHCC for the children and some of their parents to spend quality time together.

The event, held on Nov 23 at CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School, saw about 90 kids, aged 7-12, take part in races and relays.

Mr U. K. Shyam, a retired athlete and current national 100-m record holder of Singapore, shared with the children the difficulties he faced in his family when he was younger and how sports became an avenue for him to chase his dreams.

Ms Shanti Pereira, a track and field athlete who holds the national record for the 100-m and 200-m sprints, encouraged the children to do their best in whatever they set their heart on and not to be afraid of failure.

Children and parents using hula hoops to complete a segment of the relay race.

The highlight of the event saw children and one of their parents working together to navigate through obstacles placed in front of them while using objects such as small bean bags and hula hoops.

The kids also took joy in dressing up one of their parents using the props provided as part of the competition.

The trophies awarded for the parent-child relay race were for best teamwork and best dressed parent.

Participants and all those involved in the sports day were invited to IJ Village, located next to CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School, for lunch after the event.


Retired athlete U. K. Shyam shared with the children how sports became an avenue for him to chase his dreams.

“The purpose for having a sports day is ultimately to build confidence in the children and to promote character development,” said Ms Annabel Pennefather, a member of the IJHCC Management Committee.

“We want to encourage them to follow their dreams, not just in sports, but in life,” she added.
The IJHCC sports day has been held annually since 2015 and is one of the events that brings together children from both centres.

IJHCC serves children and youth of different races and religions. Its two student care centres IJ Galilee Centre and IJ Village house less privileged children and teenagers during the day when their parents are at work. 


Track and field athlete Shanti Pereira encouraged the children to do their best in whatever they set their heart on.

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