Going for gold...and charity

Going for gold...and charity
Some members of the Singapore water polo team.

SINGAPORE- Every medal they win will benefit underprivileged children.

As part of the Singapore Swimming Association's (SSA) new Aquatics Heart and Hope programme, Osim International has pledged to donate up to $60,000 for medals won by the swimmers, divers and water polo players.

The lifestyle products company will give $2,000 for a gold, $1,000 for a silver and $500 for a bronze. Seventy per cent will go to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) and the rest to the SSA.

At the last SEA Games in 2011, Singapore's pool stars won 19 golds, 12 silvers and 14 bronzes. If they perform as well this month, Osim's donation will be $56,000.

Programme ambassador Joseph Schooling, 18, who is aiming for six golds in Myanmar, was at the launch of the charity initiative yesterday. "It's very important for us athletes to give back to society," he said. "I'm really happy and honoured to be part of something like this."

The SSA will channel its 30 per cent into a training sponsorship programme for talented under-privileged children. This will allow them to train with swimming clubs, without having to worry about paying training fees.

The money will also go towards the cost of hosting talks by athletes as well as coaching clinics for SPMF beneficiaries.

SSA executive director Edwin Ker, who came up with the medals-for-charity idea, hopes it will catch on with other sports by the time the 2015 SEA Games is held in Singapore.

He said: "We want to ask the question, 'What does a gold medal mean to Singapore?' Now, with Osim, the benefits of a gold medal are tangible. Every medal we win benefits a charity."

Swimmer Darren Lim, seen here as a child, features in The Sunday Times' countdown to the Games, featuring athletes Then & Now.

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