By Lim Say Heng
A SIMPLIFIED version of water polo may join the stable of primary school Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) soon, if Singapore Water Polo's (SWP) plans pan out.
The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) affiliate is working together with the Ministry of Education's Co-Curricular Activities Branch (CCAB) to introduce flippa ball to primary schools.
Flippa ball is a simplified version of water polo popularised in Australia.
The initiative is part of SWP's plans to promote water polo, which is currently being played competitively at the secondary school level and beyond.
"We want to enlarge the base (of players), so we are working with CCAB to introduce flippa ball to the primary schools," said Ivan Tan, vice-president (water polo), SSA.
A larger pool of players would aid SWP's talent scouting process, where they identify good players for the various national development squads.
However, there are several kinks to be ironed out before flippa ball can be successful at a nationwide level.
One major concern is the lack of qualified instructors for the sport.
"Currently, even most of the water polo coaches are swimming coaches," said Tan. "And while some swim schools are running water polo programmes, I don't think it's their main focus."
Which is why SWP is looking at how it can persuade these coaches to become qualified instructors for flippa ball.
"Some of these instructors like to wear wetsuits, maybe we could introduce a patch that says "flippa ball instructor", which they can sew on their wetsuits, or something like that," Tan added.
"This year is more about laying down such groundwork so that we can get more qualified trainers to properly teach the sport."
Also, the "possibility of insufficient swimming pools with 0.9m depth" is another concern for promoting flippa ball here, said a CCAB staff member.
The sport is played in a shallow pool, about 1m deep.