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Young Singapore dancer with Down syndrome looks towards Special Olympics

Megan Tang
Megan Tang has always loved to dance from a young age. Photo: Edwin Tang via TODAY

Megan Tang, a young rising star in the world of dance, has been added to the Special Olympics Singapore DanceSport team.

In 2017, Tang became the first dancer under 18 to be accepted into the Down Syndrome Association (Singapore) Fusion Dance Enrichment Programme.

This year, the 16-year-old was selected to join the dance team which is preparing for future competitions, such as the 2023 summer games in Berlin.

“I felt happy and joyful when I heard I was selected for the team since I would be competing with people from many countries,” said Tang, who is a student at the Association for Persons with Special Needs Tanglin School.

She was among last year’s recipients of the Goh Chok Tong Enable Awards, which recognises persons with disabilities.

The third edition of the awards – an initiative of the Mediacorp Enable Fund – has nominations closing on Aug 31.

The awards consists of two categories: UBS Achievement and UBS Promise.

The UBS Achievement award is given to persons with disabilities who have made significant achievements in their own fields, with up to three individuals being awarded S$10,000.

The UBS Promise award, which Tang won, is given to persons with disabilities who have shown potential to reach greater heights in their areas of talent, with up to 10 individuals each receiving S$5,000.

“I felt honoured to receive the award,” said Tang, who dances four times a week at various dance studios in Singapore.

Tang is very busy:  she dances for the Down Syndrome Association (Singapore) Fusion Dance group and the Diverse Abilities Dance Collective, is practising for the Special Olympics, as well as being enrolled at a private dance studio to dance with children without disabilities.

“Initially, there were some dance movements that Megan found challenging due to her shorter limbs and height,” said her mother, Jasmine Lai, 47.

She added that while Megan had faced difficulties at the beginning, she was able to “gain back” her composure and continue with her practices.

“For Megan, it can be quite tough. But she never gives up.”

Tang said she never feels exhausted from her hectic schedule of dancing.

“It makes me feel relaxed… I gain energy from practising,” she said.

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