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MCCY to get more S’poreans to play sports

SINGAPORE — Presbyterian High School basketballer Eugene Han was “heartbroken” after his team were eliminated from the North Zone Championships this year, but the 16-year-old can look forward to a new developmental league started by ActiveSG and the Basketball Association of Singapore for teams that failed to reach the National Inter-School Championships.

Participants setting off in a walk-a-Jog at the Singapore Sports Hub during a countdown celebration to usher in the 28th SEA Games which will be held in Singapore next year.

Participants setting off in a walk-a-Jog at the Singapore Sports Hub during a countdown celebration to usher in the 28th SEA Games which will be held in Singapore next year.

SINGAPORE — Presbyterian High School basketballer Eugene Han was “heartbroken” after his team were eliminated from the North Zone Championships this year, but the 16-year-old can look forward to a new developmental league started by ActiveSG and the Basketball Association of Singapore for teams that failed to reach the National Inter-School Championships.

Students not selected for their school teams can also continue to play sports actively, with ActiveSG working with some schools to provide more opportunities and offer co-curricular activity (CCA) points. These are among initiatives planned by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to get more Singaporeans involved in sports — a key legacy the Government hopes the 2015 South-east Asian (SEA) Games will leave behind.

Through ActiveSG programmes, Serangoon Secondary School students can play floorball and Cedar Girls’ Secondary School’s athletics team can use the Kallang Practice Track, with coaching and programming assistance provided.

Responding to Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Benedict Tan’s query during yesterday’s Committee of Supply session in Parliament, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said his ministry would work with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to see if CCA points could be offered to students through ActiveSG. “What we would like to do certainly is go beyond complementing what they (MOE) are doing to eventually offer programmes under ActiveSG, which may earn CCA points,” he said. “This is something we are talking to MOE and schools about (and) it may take time to evolve.”

While ActiveSG — the national movement to get Singaporeans to stay active and fit — has attracted more than 700,000 members since its launch last year, more will be done to get youth involved. “I’m sure the SEA Games will spark interest in sports — we’ll have more people coming together to cheer for Team Singapore, more students and volunteers getting involved and more people participating in sports,” he said. “All this should not be just a short-lived phenomenon.”

ActiveSG’s School Holiday Sports Programme also allows students to play a variety of sports during the vacation, and more programmes may be unveiled. The Singapore Sports School is also being reviewed, with the possibility of offering a six-year-plus predominantly through-train programme. The school is working with institutes of higher learning, local and overseas universities to provide more athlete-friendly post-secondary pathways.

Overall funding for National Sports Associations (NSAs) will rise by 8.6 per cent to S$73.1 million for the fiscal year 2015/2016, while almost all NSAs will get higher baseline funding to allow financial stability in planning.

The minister also urged employers in the private and public sectors to grant staff time off to attend the June 5 to 16 SEA Games. Deloitte Singapore, which counts badminton player Derek Wong among the national athletes on its payroll, plans to purchase tickets in bulk to events that they will compete in.

Said Deloitte Singapore CEO Philip Yuen: “We’re proud to send our staff to the events because, with our support, the athletes will be spurred to do their best for their team and nation.” ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ADELENE WONG

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