I remember meeting Darren Nin in year, 2005, October. I went over to Hwa Chong Institution (college section) from the then Chinese High School. The moment I was there, it was found that the cross-country group that I was about to take charge of in the college had problems in forming a team.
Darren's name was suggested to me by Jeffrey Ng and Lee Siang Loong, who were already our runners. We had only two who were willing to run, and that was all. I did my part by taking to Darren to join our team and was hoping that he would join us. I was surprised that he was positive to my talk and he accepted to join us.
The day he joined us, I was not sure of his commitment in training. I really didn't know his character well enough. Darren was also a quiet and a reserved person at that time. .
However, to my surprise, he showed great dedication in training and was very obedient in doing his training. He was always on time for training, and was usually the first to arrive for training.
He also did not complain about training when the going gets tough and was always doing his best when a task was given to him.
I met the father for the convocation at NTU, 29/07/2014, where I was invited by Darren Nin, as I was one of his teachers to be honoured. His father told me that, in the past, he used to wake up at 5am to bring Darren to Hwa Chong for training. The father told me that it was around 5 30am that Darren reached school for training. Darren's team of the 2006 batch had to train extra hard for training as some of the runners like Darren were just coming to know about running.
I was very appreciative of this and I thanked the father for supporting Darren in his running passion. His father has sacrificed for the son's passion a lot by accepting to lose some of his sleep. Darren, as I know, is one of the fastest to do a 7min 55sec for 2.4km in less than 9months. I had little time for Darren to progress and the tough training session in the morning and evening were crucial to win the championships.
Many school teams had 8 runners in year 2006 National Schools Cross Country race. With only 5 athletes in our team, we some how miraculously won the second position for the team event in National Schools' Cross Country Championships. Fortunately, the judges counted the top four runners for the medals. Darren running for our team was very important for us and he came in 20th overall individual for our team. In our team, if two of the runners had fallen sick, we would not be able to run in the race at all.
Hence, I told Darren's father, Mr Nin, on the Convocation Day that things would not have been possible if Darren did not run for us.
It was good to hear from NTU a few weeks ago on Darren's convocation in NTU. I read the letter sent to me on Darren Nin (Hwa Chong Inst class of 05S67) having won the prestigious Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award for all round success achieved in NTU. I felt that Darren needs to be honoured for his very good character that he had shown during Hwa Chong days, and I believe that he had shown the same spirit or working hard in NTU as well. I was surprised that Darren had chosen me to be honoured at NTU.
On that day, I thoroughly enjoyed the occasion being with Darren and his family. Darren also introduced me to Professor Veni Hong, as one of the two invited to be honoured. I found out from Darren that he was inspired by Dr Veni in mentoring his research project, that has led him to do his Phd studies in NTU, Singapore, for 2 years and 2 years in The Loughborough University of Technology, England. Darren was offered a scholarship for the study. Dr Veni shared with me on the days of her studies in Loughborough University. She also found out from Darren that I had studied at Loughborough University.
It looks like the three of us will over a period of time be the alumni of Loughborough University. I am very happy that Darren has chosen sports as his passion for his further studies and hope that he will contribute to the society in the long run.