Scholarships were handed-out through the Singapore Olympic Foundation ©SOF

Five stars from Spanish football side Valencia were on hand to present over 300 student athletes at the annual Singapore Olympic Foundation (SOF) Scholarship awards ceremony at ITE College East.

The quintet - Santi Mina, Mathew Ryan, Jaume Domenech, Javi Fuego and Paco Alcácer - presented awards while also engaging in a question and answer session with audience members.

They were joined by Peter Lim, the principal donor of the Scholarship who owns Valencia, and Singapore Olympic Foundation Board member Chris Chan.

Also present was Logan Tom, United States’ four-time Olympian who claimed volleyball silver medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

The SOF-PL Scholarship, now in its sixth edition, was launched in 2010 following a donation from Lim.

In total, 1,758 scholarships have so far been awarded to young athletes to pursue their sporting goals.

Recipients have to meet a range of criteria, including the scoring of consistent results in relevant sports competitions.

Most recipients come from “financially challenged backgrounds” and demonstrate “potential to excel” in the sports they play.

This year, 1,202 applications were received, spanning 44 sports representing 194 schools.

Scholarship recipients pose following the ceremony in Singapore ©SNOC
Scholarship recipients pose following the ceremony in Singapore ©SNOC

These included 45 who qualified for the under-18 high performance category including fencer Lau Ywen, synchronised swimmer Debbie Soh and tennis player Muhammad Shaheed.

“Coming from a single parent family, this additional incentive helps to pay for my school fees, the sporting equipment I need for the track and my daily expenses,” said Kugapriya Chandran, a national sprinter who has competed in the 2013 Asian Youth Games.

“I am humbled and grateful for the support and recognition.

"Being recognised for the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship gives me more motivation to train harder and to be a positive role model for the younger athletes.”

The special guests also engaged in community events in the days leading up to the ceremony.

Tom spent some time with the national beach volleyball team at the Singapore Sports Hub, while the Valencia players met recipients and beneficiaries from Beyond Social Services, a charity dedicated to helping young people from less privileged backgrounds.

“The Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship continues to reach out to young athletes who need the support in the sporting pursuits,” added SOF chairman Ser Miang Ng, Singapore's International Olympic Committee (IOC) member who is also a director of Valencia.

“This is made possible because of Mr Peter Lim’s generosity and we are grateful for his continued support.”