SINGAPORE - The new Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship) will be suspended temporarily for elite male athletes when they are in National Service (NS).
These athletes will be given a period of between six and nine months after they complete NS to get back up to speed.
Both Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck and Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) executive director Fabian Lim made the promise on Tuesday, during a briefing of the new elite athlete development programme.
The $40 million programme is set to begin in September, with about 60 athletes chosen from 218 nominations spread across 28 sports.
Both Mr Teo and Associate Professor Lim explained that the spexScholarship demands "full-time" commitment - while recipients can study and work, they are expected to place training and competition as their top priorities, which athletes in NS will be unable to fulfil.
Said Mr Teo: "If they qualify for the scholarship at 15 or 16, we won't take them out just because of their NS obligations.
"Go ahead and serve, I will reserve their place for them and they can come back and build themselves (after that).
"If you are serving your NS obligations, I don't see why you should be dropped."