Minister Fu to young athletes: You won't be alone
Dream big. Persevere in your sporting pursuits. You will not be alone in your journey.
That was the call made by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, as she rallied student-athletes all over the country in her speech at The New Paper School Sports Star award ceremony at the Singapore Sports School yesterday.
Ms Fu announced a slew of changes to the Sports School, as well as the formation of the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI), which will enhance the development of student-athletes in both the Woodlands-based school, as well as mainstream schools.
From next year, the Sports School's academic and sports programmes will be enhanced, while the NYSI - headed by former national sailor Tan Wearn Haw - will offer student-athletes and coaches support in areas like sports science and medicine, and athlete life management.
Said Ms Fu: "Over the last 10 years, it (the Sports School) has accumulated valuable experience and expertise.
"It is now in a good position to share its expertise more widely to support the sporting aspirations of student-athletes in mainstream schools and make a greater impact in youth sport."
Tan, the outgoing CEO of the Singapore Sailing Federation, said that his sports science staff are already conducting youth-centric sports research that are "world firsts", and the knowledge will be shared freely with high-performing athletes and coaches alike, regardless of which school they come from.
There will be many who wonder about the response from student-athletes in mainstream schools, since the bulk of the knowledge and services to be shared will come from the Sports School, seen as big rivals in the school sports scene.
But Tan said: "I am not from the Sports School, I am from the ministry (MCCY), so that sends out a strong signal already.
"We are here to level up the whole playing field... at the end of the day, Singapore must and will benefit when there's a better playing field."
The average student-athlete may not immediately see the benefits of the NYSI, as it is aimed at improving the athlete's support system of coaches, career-guidance counsellors and teachers, who will then pass the knowledge down to their charges.
Tan's long-term goal is to feed into the parent Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) system a better "quality and quantity of athletes... who can work with the SSI staff at a higher level".
He said: "If we can work ourselves out of a job, that's ideal because we have built a system... that is self-sustaining."
This article was first published on November 17, 2015.
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