SINGAPORE - Singapore Table Tennis Association's (STTA) hopes of producing more world-class players for the national team have received a boost with the renewal of a sponsorship agreement with 100Plus to 2016.
Its president Lee Bee Wah and Fraser and Neave (F&N) chief executive officer for non-alcoholic beverages Ng Jui Sia yesterday put pen to paper on a three-year deal worth $800,000 in cash and in kind.
This is an extension to a $750,000 deal that was signed in 2011.
"The extra $50,000 will go solely to the STTA-PCF programme, where our future is," said Ms Lee.
The STTA-PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Kindergarten programme, which aims to groom players from a young age, involves more than 1,000 participants in various districts.
The remaining amount will be used to develop both elite athletes and young up-and-coming players, such as sending them to overseas tournaments.
Ms Lee hopes that the additional investment in the STTA-PCF programme will pave the way for more young players to break into the national team.
She said: "We will talent- scout the better players from the PCF, and send them to our zone training centres.
"From the zone training centres, hopefully, some will choose to pursue table tennis professionally, and enrol in the SWS."
"Eventually, we hope to see more world-class players coming through," added Ms Lee, who is also an MP for Nee Soon GRC.
There are now 10 paddlers enrolled in the School Within A School (SWS) programme at the Singapore Sports School, which offers greater customisation of academic support to the selected student-athletes.
On 100Plus' partnership with STTA, Ng said: "We've decided to renew this agreement because it has given us a fair bit of mileage. Singapore's table tennis teams are very successful.
"Also, it is for a good cause. Table tennis is a wholesome sport. It is family-oriented and everyone can play together."
Said Ms Lee, who has a target of three gold medals at this December's SEA Games in Myanmar: "This sponsorship will give us the chance to achieve more success and develop more sports excellence plans."
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.