As an aspiring wrestler and physiotherapist, Nadiah hopes to be equally capable of meting out damage as healing it. Here, she shares her journey via Early Admissions Exercise to Republic Polytechnic. By Goh Hong Yi.
Many of us probably have a favourite television programme growing up – be it Power Rangers or Pokemon. But for Nadiah Alani, a second-year student at Republic Polytechnic (RP), the television programme that she enjoyed as a child was not a cartoon, but the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) matches that she watched with her father and sister every week.
There’s much more to wrestling than just fighting, says Nadiah.
“People do not realise that in professional wrestling, the opponents are not supposed to seriously hurt each other. So, there is a lot of technique and control involved. I’m also into the stunts they do. There is an element of acting as well, when the wrestlers express the rivalry they have with their opponent. It is actually very enjoyable to watch!”
She and her sister used to have fun wrestling matches under the supervision of her father, who served as the referee. Naturally, they had to stick to the safer moves too!
Nadiah’s fascination with wrestling stayed with her as she grew older. However, opportunities to learn wrestling was limited for a young girl in Singapore, so she pursued her interests in the next best alternative – sports.
In secondary school, Nadiah joined the school’s Hockey team and threw herself into the sport. That was also when she discovered another interest which would shape her course of study.
“I had a sprain after a hockey match in Sec 2,” she recalled. “I had to see a physiotherapist and that got me interested in sports-related injuries and how to treat them. I thought that would be useful for me if I were to go into wrestling!”
While Nadiah’s heart was set on becoming a professional wrestling, her mother wanted a safer job for her.
At this time, she heard about RP’s Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science (DSES) course from an older cousin. This option satisfied both her interests in sports and physiotherapy, as well as her mother’s desire that she get a “proper” job. Her family was supportive of her decision.
Having confirmed that RP’s DSES programme was what she wanted, Nadiah decided to go for the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE).
“I was not that confident in my grades,” she shared. “EAE allowed me to secure a place in the course I wanted. They said that EAE was for people with a strong interest in the course, and I thought, that’s definitely me!”
To prepare for the selection interview, Nadiah put together her portfolio, which mostly included her hockey achievements from secondary school and testimonials from her teachers.
One thing that Nadiah found useful was that her family practised the interview with her beforehand. They helped her think of possible interview questions, too!
“I felt more prepared and confident,” she shared. “I was able to share about my passion in sports and wrestling, and I think that helped me in the interview.”
Nadiah was successful and was soon offered a place in DSES.
To her credit, she still put in her best effort for her O-levels and achieved a single-digit score.
“I think it is part of my personality as an athlete to want to do well,” she reflected. “I still wanted to go for the poly route though, because I think it is more practical and I prefer something that I could apply right away!”
New environment, new opportunities
Even before the first semester began, Nadiah was already checking out the syllabi for her modules and reading up – because she could not wait to start learning about how the human body works during exercise!
One of the modules she looked forward to the most was Anatomy and Physiology.
“I loved learning about how our muscles and bones work together to help us move, and even remembering the names of all the muscle groups I use when I exercise!”
Nadiah is also putting what she learnt into practice – in her new CCA, Judo.
Like wrestling, Judo is a martial art and Nadiah believes that the skills she is learning now would help her if she takes up wrestling in the future. She is currently a student leader in RP’s Judo Interest Group, and trains twice a week with a team of like-minded people who spur her on to be better in the sport.
“I believe that what I learn in my classes can help me become a better athlete, and it motivates me to do well in my studies as well!”
Although she is only in her second year, Nadiah has already done her research and hopes to do her degree in Sports Science in the Nanyang Technological University when she graduates. It would be a step towards her dream of being a physiotherapist.
Not to forget, doing professional wrestling on the side.
For more information about RP and EAE, join their webinar on 5 June: https://www.rp.edu.sg/parents/eae-parents-talk