From Taman Jurong To Loftus Road
22 Mar 2014
Barthi's big adventure with Queen's Park Rangers takes flight!
Shantana Barthi left for London last night on the chance-of-a-lifetime training trip with Queen’s Park Rangers, sponsored by AirAsia. Even as he prepared to board the plane, he was still overwhelmed by the opportunity.
“I have been in shock. I think I fainted when they announced my name at the clinic last November,” the 16 year-old said. Sporting new gear sponsored by Nike Singapore and a Team Singapore jacket, Barthi was ready to serve as a young sports ambassador for Singapore in London.
AirAsia is sponsoring four boys from Singapore for the trip, including two from the National Football Academy through FAS and one from Singapore Sports School. “Nurturing talent is our philosophy in AirAsia,” said Loganathan Velaitham, the CEO of AirAsia Singapore. “I'm glad we can contribute this opportunity to these young talents.”
Said Barthi's beaming Father, Devaraju Akampram, “He told us but we didn’t believe it until SportCares came to see us at home.” SportCares liaised with AirAsia, Barthi’s parents and his school, Yuhua Secondary, to ensure that all the details came together. Not only will Barthi be put through his paces on the football pitch with the QPR folks, he also will be visiting museums and other cultural landmarks in London, courtesy of QPR and AirAsia.
Barthi is a member of the Beacon of Life Football Academy in Taman Jurong and plays football through the SportCares Saturday Night Lights programme. However he comes from a football-mad family, and he was joined at the AirAsia check-in counter by his parents, his brothers, some uncles and aunties, cousins and his best friend Pavi, also from Taman Jurong.
In fact, Barthi is the youngest of 18 grandchildren who play every chance they get. Said his Uncle Mogan, “We can field a full football team plus reserves at any time. Just call us!”