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​NTU-NIE team's Everest expedition a success as Yusrina summits

Published on: 24-May-2017

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                          Photos courtesy of NTU-NIE Everest Team Singapore and Nur Yusrina Ya'akob

Exactly two years after an earthquake ended her maiden quest to reach the world’s highest peak, Nur Yusrina Ya’akob has achieved her dream at the second attempt.

The 30-year-old, who is part of the NTU-NIE Everest Team Singapore from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and the National Institute of Education (NIE), reached the summit of the 8,848 metres high Mount Everest, which straddles the China-Nepal border, at approximately 9.40am local time (11.55am Singapore time) on Monday (22 May).
The team also includes Dr Arjunan Saravana Pillai, 47, a teaching fellow at NIE, and 26-year-old Jeremy Tong, a recent graduate from NTU’s Sports Science and Management programme.
They are the first team from Singapore to have at least a member reach the peak, after the Singapore Women’s Everest Team in 2009.
Yusrina and Jeremy – Dr Saravana stayed behind as he wasn’t well – left Everest Base Camp South on 19 May (Friday). They reached Base Camp 4, which is about 7,950m above sea level and the final stop before the summit, on Sunday (21 May) afternoon before commencing on their summit attempt that evening after about a six-hour rest.
However, Jeremy was forced to turn back due to hypothermia after reaching 8,480m, just 360 metres from the peak. Yusrina, aided by her guides Dukchung Lama and Nosang Bhote, pushed on and reached the summit.​
Mr Tan Chin Hwee, member of NTU’s Board of Trustees, CEO of Trafigura Group (Asia-Pacific), and a keen supporter of the team, said, “Reaching the top of the world’s highest mountain is a truly remarkable feat by Yusrina. Having personally supported Yusrina in her previous failed attempt in 2015, her success today is an event that we can be proud of after seven years of training for it. 
But this is a team effort, and credit must also go to Dr Saravana and Jeremy. Throughout the entire expedition, they kept supporting and motivating each other on in spite of the very difficult and challenging conditions. As long as one summits, the entire team succeeds.”
“We all know how dangerous conditions on Everest can be, and it takes a lot of courage, discipline and persistence to attempt such an expedition. They have shown that if you work hard and smart, stay disciplined, keep on believing and stay the course, you can eventually achieve your dreams.
“These are lifelong values that NTU believes its students should have to not only benefit them throughout their lives, but are also vital to securing Singapore’s future.”
Yusrina is a trainee teacher pursuing the Postgraduate Diploma in Physical Education at NIE, an institute of NTU. She was part of an expedition in 2015 that was forced to abort their climb after an earthquake struck.
Dr Saravana is a teaching fellow at NIE, while Jeremy is a graduate of NTU’s Sports Science and Management programme.
They arrived in Kathmandu on 26 March, before embarking on a 10-day journey to Everest Base Camp South, which is 5,364 metres above sea level and where they have been based at for the past two months.
During that time, the trio underwent acclimatisation climbs, including to the 6,119m Lobuche Peak, to adjust physically and mentally to the low oxygen levels, highly volatile and extreme weather conditions – temperatures averaged minus 25 degrees Celsius – and dangerous terrain.
And in the year prior to their expedition, they followed a training regimen that included hauling 20 kg backpacks up 40-storey HDB blocks and hiking around the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, endurance runs, and rock climbing to improve their climbing techniques.
They also consulted Singaporeans who have climbed Everest. These include David Lim, who led the first Singaporean expedition to have summited Everest in May 1998, and the Singapore Women’s Everest Team.
With the help of NTU and NIE, the trio also managed to raise more than S$150,000.
The NTU-NIE Everest Team Singapore, which was formed in early 2016, hope to encourage a less risk averse and a more can-do mentality in Singapore, and encourage more to chase their dreams.
For more information and updates on the NTU-NIE Everest Team Singapore, visit
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Media Contact:​
Tan Yo-Hinn (Mr)
Assistant Director
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
T: +65 6790 4889
About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
Ranked 13th in the world, NTU has also been ranked the world’s top young university for the last three years running. The University’s main campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit
About the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore
The National Institute of Education (NIE) is among the world’s top education institutes, renowned for its excellence in teacher education and educational research. Founded in 1950, NIE has played a key and pivotal role in shaping and developing Singapore’s teaching workforce. 
In a dynamic education milieu, NIE prepares teachers with the requisite values, skills and knowledge to meet the demands of 21st century learners and classrooms. The quality of our programmes is based on evidence-informed review and enhancement and delivered using innovative pedagogies in digitally-mediated learning spaces. We focus on linking theory to practice and aim to develop students a global and inquiring mindset for lifelong learning. 
Our degree, higher degree and professional development programmes offer global perspectives through international practica and semester exchanges while 21st century pedagogies, multidisciplinary curricula and service learning initiatives help us to develop the holistic reflective practitioner and school leader. NIE is ranked top 14 in the world for research impact and excellence in the field of Education. Our research philosophy is focused on impacting school practices, enhancing our own programmes, informing policy formation and ultimately, improving student learning outcomes. Our international reputation has allowed us to build strategic alliances with other renowned institutions in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.
For more information, please visit:


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