66 to lead nation's sporting ambitions

66 to lead nation's sporting ambitions
Unveiling of some of the recipients of the new Sports Excellence Scholarship

SINGAPORE embarked on a new phase in its journey to be among Asia's top sporting nations on Tuesday.

Some 66 athletes from 15 sports were named as the inaugural batch of Sports Excellence Scholarship recipients, while 26 others from nine sports have been earmarked as potential scholars to receive additional support.

After spending about half an hour sailing in the Marina Bay with some of the scholarship recipients and potential scholars yesterday, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said: "For individual athletes, we have specific targets, but we want to be among the top few sporting nations in Asia.

"This improved high-performance system is a major part of this strategy and (the scholarship) is an integral part of this system."

Picked from 218 nominations over 28 sports, the scholars will receive financial and educational support, career preparation and personal and life-skills development according to their competitive levels.

Potential scholars will receive additional support in terms of overseas training and competitions, as well as equipment, in the hope they will improve their performances and qualify for the scholarship next year.

Mr Wong said: "We had so many good applications that we felt that we ought to identify those who have the potential to become scholars in the next round.

"(These athletes) are very promising, but not quite meeting the mark yet. We wanted to give them a signal and motivation to train hard and hopefully they will get the scholarship in the next round."

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