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Three-pronged approach to boost S’pore sports

SINGAPORE — The Government will adopt a three-pronged approach to help Singapore’s national athletes excel on a bigger scale, particularly at the Commonwealth, Asian and Olympic Games, after its record medal haul at last month’s SEA Games.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean takes a photo of siblings Quah Zheng Wen, Quah Ting Wen and Quah Jing Wen at an Istana Garden Party held to celebrate Team Singapore's outstanding performance at the recent 28th SEA Games on 13 Jul 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean takes a photo of siblings Quah Zheng Wen, Quah Ting Wen and Quah Jing Wen at an Istana Garden Party held to celebrate Team Singapore's outstanding performance at the recent 28th SEA Games on 13 Jul 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY

SINGAPORE — The Government will adopt a three-pronged approach to help Singapore’s national athletes excel on a bigger scale, particularly at the Commonwealth, Asian and Olympic Games, after its record medal haul at last month’s SEA Games.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said the first step is to strengthen partnerships with the National Sports Associations to “find ways to improve the training and development of our athletes” and the quality of coaching.

Individual athlete plans and high-performance programmes will be worked out, he added, while emphasis will also be placed on youth development and the support of employers.

Singapore’s athletes put on their best performance in the history of the biennial SEA Games, winning 84 gold, 73 silver and 102 bronze medals. They finished second overall to Thailand, but had the biggest share of medals — 259 — among the 11 competing countries.

“We will strengthen the support offered by the Singapore Sports Institute to national athletes,” Mr Wong told Parliament, alluding to the Institute’s sports science and sports analytics offerings.

“Second, we will improve youth athlete development so more promising student athletes will have the opportunity to excel in their sports and don national colours while continuing their education. And the review of the Singapore Sports School, which is now under way, will provide for this.

“Third, we will build on the support of employers so national athletes who have to juggle sports and work can get the support they need to train and compete for Singapore.”

Singaporeans turned out in droves at the SEA Games to support their compatriots, and Mr Wong said future efforts will build on this interest in sport with a more vibrant calendar that has a wider array of events.

Singapore will host the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships next month, the Singapore Airlines Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix in September, the Women’s Tennis Association Finals in October and the Netball Nations Cup in December.

Said Mr Wong: “Our goal is to promote a culture of attending sporting events with friends and family so that, in the process, it inspires Singaporeans to engage in sports themselves at the recreational, competitive or even high-performance level.”

But the minister told Parliament what stood out most in hosting the SEA Games was the Singapore spirit.

“The most heartening aspect for me was the strong demonstration of the Singapore spirit throughout the Games,” said Mr Wong.

“Our many volunteers worked hard day and night to put together a great experience for Singaporeans and visitors from (around) the region. So, we will strengthen sports volunteerism as one of the legacies of the SEA Games.”

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