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SJI International first to offer karting as a CCA

By Pinkypink on 04 May 2011

The idea of having go-karting as a CCA is not new but since Formula 1 came to Singapore in 2008 and Kartright Speedway (currently Singapore's only go-karting facility) opened at the end of 2009, no progress has been made about pushing go-karting to the schools.

Finally, St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI) International has accepted go-karting as a CCA, which will be held at Kartright Speedway and to start later this year.

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Since he karted for the first time in France, SJI International student Timothy Tyler Birnbaum had been itching to go karting again but he had no idea where to go karting in Singapore.

Now however, the Grade 8 student of SJI International has great reason to cheer as his school has announced the inclusion of go-karting as a core-curricular activity (CCA) for 2011.

“I’m very interested in anything to do with driving or flying and I really enjoyed karting when I tried it in France. I moved to Singapore two years ago and haven’t had the chance to kart. I’m very excited about having karting as a CCA in school and I’m looking forward to it!” said Birnbaum.

Fully supportive of his enthusiasm for karting, Timothy’s mother Regina is equally ecstatic, “I think karting is a wonderful sport that enhances responsiveness and awareness. Kartright is a very well-managed facility and I’m confident about having my son learn karting at a reputable institution where safety will be taught well. You have to allow your child to be exposed to certain risks so that they are able to understand how to react to them and not panic.”

Offered by Singapore’s only karting facility Kartright Speedway, high school students of SJII who are keen to take up karting as an after-school activity may do so at a price of $1,200 for 12 two-hour lessons.

The CCA will take place on a weekly basis at Kartright and this fee includes professional coaching, the usage of rental karts and helmets. Scheduled to start in August later this year, 16 have already registered their interest.

When SJII first opened in January 2007, they had a student called Andrew Tang, a Singaporean who has been with the school since it started with just over 100 students then.

The 16-year-old Singaporean made quite a name for himself in the Asian region and his kart racing achievements used to be announced during morning assemblies, hence karting is not unknown to the students of SJII.

“Andrew left at the end of last year to pursue his career in go-karting, but we’ve now another karting star Akash Neil Nandy – a Grade 9 student of Malaysian nationality who competed in the Rotax Max World finals in Italy last November and the Macau International Kart Prix in mid-December where he finished on the podium,” Vincent Anandraj, 40, Director of Development & Communications at SJII who is the overall-in-charge of the CCA programme.

Based in Singapore, Akash was approached by a team to test for the Formula Pacific Championship 2011 upon his return from Macau. More recently, Akash started this season well, winning the Junior category of the Rotax Invitational Race 2011 early this year.

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Karting has been a popular sport amongst the SJII student body, with at least seven of them currently active at Kartright, including 12-year-old Gabriella Teo, who was the first female to participate in last year’s inaugural Singapore Karting Championship.

“Every year we review our CCA programmes and try to add new activities like wakeboarding, yoga and rock climbing for our students. We knew what karting was but we didn’t know what avenues were available until Jude Benny, the director of Kartright Speedway approached us. Karting will be very beneficial for our students, as it teaches them how to respond quickly and think on their feet, as well as learn safe driving techniques before they are eligible to drive,” added Vincent.

“My daughter was a student of SJII and SJI is my alma mater, hence I’m very delighted that the school is bold enough to make the first move and be the first school in Singapore to officially launch karting as a CCA,” said Jude, 53, who is a litigation lawyer by profession.

“We have been pushing for karting as a CCA to schools but it is something new afterall and I understand that principals and teachers alike need time to get comfortable with the idea. Karting builds discipline, character and confidence, which is essential for a child’s development.”

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Written by Pinkypink
Referred to as "The Girl Who Loves Cars & Motorsports", Cheryl Tay is a regular name in motoring publications and an established blogger herself. For more of her, check out www.cheryl-tay.com.

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