Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim has extended his pledge to help local athletes by donating a further $10 million to fund the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim (SOF-PL) Scholarship from 2021-2030.
This was announced on July 3 by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was the guest of honour at the SOF-PL Scholarship award presentation at Temasek Polytechnic.
Lim's latest donation is in addition to the $10 million that he pledged when the scholarship was first launched in 2010.
DPM Heng added that Lim is also committing another $20 million towards a new community project to help children from less privileged backgrounds.
This takes the total amount that the 66-year-old billionaire will be committing to the community to $30 million.
At this year's ceremony, which is into its ninth edition, a record 53 athletes received the high performance Under-18 scholarships. In all, 280 student-athletes received scholarships totalling $781,000 in cash, with figure skating featured for the first time.
There are four categories with varying cash amounts: primary ($1,000), secondary ($2,000), junior college/integrated programme/tertiary ($3,000) and under-18 high performance ($5,000).
To be eligible, recipients must meet a set of criteria, such as scoring consistent results in relevant sports competitions.
Since its inception, 2,642 scholarships amounting to $7.2 million have been awarded.
One of the beneficiaries this year was 16-year-old Mas Ridzwan Mohamad Ali of NorthLight School.
The two-time secondary category recipient in 2016 and 2018 was the first cyclist to receive the high performance under-18 award.
Ridzwan joins the likes of swimmer Joseph Schooling, paddler Koen Pang and fencer Amita Berthier in earning the scholarship.
He said: "Sport has taught me many things, including the importance of good nutrition, time management and responsibility.
"When I do well in my sport, I try to be a good example to young children and encourage them to take up cycling.
"I am very thankful to the SOF-Peter Lim Scholarship for supporting my passion in BMX cycling. One day I hope I can make it to the Olympic Games."
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, DPM Heng thanked Lim for his generosity, saying: "His (Lim) generous donations make the scholarship possible.
"The scholarship has benefited and played a part in the successes of many of our Team Singapore athletes who have made Singapore proud."
DPM Heng then called on the wider community to do their part to enhance the local sporting scene.
He said: "This ecosystem of support required to bring the best out of Team Singapore athletes cannot be undertaken by the government alone.
"Every stakeholder has a part to play. Working together will allow us to better draw on the diversity of passions and expertise among us.
"We are encouraged to see many individuals and corporates come forward to build an even stronger sports ecosystem for Singapore."
Among the guests at the ceremony were Australia's four-time Olympic swimming champion Libby Trickett, International Olympic Committee executive board member and Singapore Olympic Foundation chairman Ng Ser Miang and Speaker of Parliament and Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin.
To round off the afternoon's proceedings, DPM Heng presented Lim with the IOC Trophy, themed "Olympism in Action", for his contributions to Singapore sport and the community.
This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.