Developing young talent vital for sporting success

Developing young talent vital for sporting success
The young athletes who will be carrying Singapore's hopes at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing from Aug 16-28.

I am highly encouraged by the fact that 51 out of 130 Team Singapore athletes who competed at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) remain involved in sports at the high-performance level ("Many have quit sports since YOG"; last Sunday).

Considering a social environment that favours academic qualifications and career pursuits, the figure reflects well on our young athletes.

Some, like paddlers Clarence Chew and Isabelle Li, have gone on to inspire young athletes by striking gold at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Of those who are no longer pursuing sport at an elite level, some have gone on to become youth coaches, creating the foundation for future sporting success.

Despite the success in grooming talent from the 2010 YOG, only 18 athletes are going to this year's YOG in Nanjing, China.

It is rewarding for our young athletes to compete against their peers from other countries.

We should broaden the YOG selection criteria to look beyond medal prospects, and consider a holistic picture of youth sports development, social cohesion and the motivation factor.

This article was first published on August 17, 2014.
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