All for one, Team S’pore
Chua Siang Yee
The Straits Times
Sunday, Mar 02, 2014
Preparing for next year’s SEA Games is not just the responsibility of athletes and members of the sporting fraternity.
Schools, employers and the government can also help by supporting games hopefuls who opt to train full time, said Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday.
Said Mr Tan, who is also an executive committee member of the Singapore National Olympic Council: “It’s not just about (the) sports fraternity itself, but it’s really an opportunity for all of us to really demonstrate what it means to be one Team Singapore.
“We will work with (education) institutions and see how best to support and accommodate (athletes’) training regimens. We also hope that companies in their own way will rally around and support our sportsman and sportswoman.
“Certainly for the SEA Games, we will work with Mindef to see how best we can accommodate and support our athletes.”
Mr Tan was speaking on the sidelines of a workshop organised by SNOC and Olympians Singapore at St Joseph’s Institution (Junior) yesterday.
His comments come after Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said at last Friday’s Straits Times Athlete of the Year award ceremony that athletes who opt to train full-time for six months will get support in the form of flexibility from school and national service, as well as support for loss of income.
Mr Wong also revealed that an “athlete-specific” fund will be managed by the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) to give budding athletes a leg up.
SNOC vice-president Tan Eng Liang, who also heads the SNOC’s special training assistance committee, applauded the move. He said: “The Sports Excellence Scholarship takes care of the obvious gold medallists, but I always felt we needed a separate fund for the potential gold medallist, the second-tier of real potential.
“That’s why my committee has been asking the Singapore Sports Council and the SSI to set aside a sum for athletes to train.”
Dr Tan added that the national sports associations (NSAs) should be proactive in requesting for funding.
He said: “There are positive indications that a fund similar to the 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), where we set aside $100,000 for each NSA, will be set up, but ultimately, we will leave it to the NSAs to identify talents, and request for additional funding.
“We have a lot to prove at next year’s SEA Games, with it being on our home ground, just like the YOG. We want to organise it well, and we are looking for many more medals.”
Yesterday’s workshop – a two-day event titled My Olympic Journey – saw two-time Olympic fencing gold medallist Brice Guyart share his tips on sports psychology, along with a host of other sports science and medical experts.
Highlights of the workshop included a panel discussion with Guyart and two Singapore fencers, Liane Wong and Lim Wei Hao. Lim, 21, recalled how he rode on the vociferous home support to a top-eight finish at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games: “I could feel the crowd behind me, and it really pushed me on.
“From that point on, I had confidence in my ability to compete among the world’s best.”