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Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together

Parliamentary Motion on Sporting Success by Mr Eric Chua, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth & Social and Family Development on 6 July 2023

Government Regularly Reviews Athletes' Performance at the Various Major Games as Part of the Wider Olympic Cycle

  1. Sir, I support the amendments to the motion raised by Mr Darryl David.
  2. But let me start by assuring the House that regular and consistent review and evaluation are conducted as part and parcel of our High-Performance Sports (HPS) ecosystem. 
  3. Through our review, we examine: (i) what has worked, (ii) what has not worked, (iii) what we could do differently, and (iv) chart our future priorities. 
  4. Our goal is to win – of course! But we must accurately define what ‘winning’ is, while recognising that we cannot compete directly with countries that have large populations – we have also performed well in many sports, including swimming, sailing, table tennis, badminton, silat to name just a few. 
  5. Associate Professor Jamus Lim distributed a handout suggesting that GDP per capita spending is a predictor of sporting success. 
  6. First, I wish to point out that the handout does not properly attribute what his data sources are. 
  7. Second, saying that sporting success can be pinned down to one predictor is perhaps overly simplistic and shows a lack of understanding of the complexity of our sporting endeavour. In fact, the scatter plots provided by A/P Jamus Lim himself substantiates the point that perhaps, there is no correlation between spending and achievement, given the spread of the data points – let us not data mine. 
  8. Many more factors are at play, depending on the operating contexts across countries.
  9. And this should also not be limited to just medals, because they are just the tip of the iceberg. Instead, we focus on the development of the sport ecosystem and support systems – a journey that may take an athlete 8-12 years – to get athletes to the peak of their performance, to realise their full potential, often at a Major Games or Major Championships, against the best in Asia or in the World. The book, Project 0812 encapsulates this belief – highlighting how our achievements at the Olympics were 20 years or more in the making. 
  10. Our basis is the well-researched and internationally recognised SPLISS model. SPLISS stands for “Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success”. This model focuses on key components that make up successful sports ecosystems. In this model, researchers identified nine pillars underpinned by 96 critical success factors that successful sporting nations exhibit. This model has helped us review existing high-performance infrastructure, as well as identify gaps and determine priorities for infrastructure development on a sport-by-sport basis.
  11. And we have seen results of these efforts.
  12. Bowler Shayna Ng – she clinched the International Bowling Federation Super World Championships Women’s Single Title in 2021. She is also Chair of the Singapore National Olympic Council Athletes’ Commission, representing and advocating for our athletes; 
  13. Silat athlete Sheik Farhan secured his fourth World Championship Title at the 19th World Pencak Silat Championships in 2022. Farhan also clinched the Singapore Youth Award in 2019 and was also the first Silat exponent to make the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list. 

    Athletes Performed Well at the 32nd SEA Games & 12th ASEAN Para Games, with Strong Support from Various Stakeholders
  14. At the recent SEA Games, our athletes delivered stellar results. 51 Golds, 43 Silvers and 64 Bronzes – 6th, not 7th that A/P Jamus Lim mentioned earlier in the medal tally table.
  15. What was perhaps even more important were the 8 Games Records, 17 National Records and 40 Personal Bests. Particularly significant were the PBs, podium finish or otherwise. These are powerful testimonies of our athletes, striving to be the best sporting versions of themselves. After all, it's not just about winning medals as Honourable Member He Ting Ru has mentioned in her speech as well. As Australian Olympic swimmer and gold medallist Bronte Barratt puts it, "It's about trying to win. The motto is "faster, higher, stronger. Not fastest, highest, strongest."
  16. Our youths and debutants too did us proud – debutants won 30% of Team Singapore gold medals. As Ms. Poh Li San mentioned, Izaac Quek swept all the Table Tennis mens’ events, winning all 3 Golds in Singles, Doubles, and Team. Swimmer Nicholas Mahabir also performed spectacularly – winning 2 Golds in the relay events as well as 3 individual Silvers. And it is perhaps worth noting that Izaac was just 16 at that time, and Nicholas, 18.
  17. Our para-athletes were also outstanding. 12 Golds, 15 Silvers and 17 Bronzes. Smashed 9 Games Records, 16 National Records and 17 Personal Bests. All from a small contingent of 25 para-athletes. Swimmer Colin Soon not only won 4 Golds and 1 Silver but also shattered 4 Games & National Records. 

    Strong Support from Various Stakeholders 
  18. These achievements were only possible because of the “village” behind our Team Singapore athletes.
  19. Family members, caregivers, and friends whose enduring love, sacrifice and belief giae our athletes the strength to turn dreams into reality – something that Member Ms Sylvia Lim is very familiar with.
  20. Coaches – for investing time and energy and being role models for our athletes.Coach Roland, along with Lionel Leong and Ang Peng Siong, they have been instrumental in our swimmers’ journey, and I was glad that we were able to get Roland that opportunity to present a medal to Colin. And you can feel and see for yourself that exhilaration on Roland’s face.
  21. And not forgetting our Sports Associations & Councils, Chefs-de-Missions, corporates, Team Nila volunteers, and fans who were a constant source of support for our athletes.

    Government has Robust HPS Philosophy and Ecosystem, and this is Tangible through Investments Made Over the Years
  22. How then, are champions made? In the next 30 half hour or so, I want to bring Members into a time warp by illustrating the support that our HPS system provides through the lens and “life course” of a hypothetical young boy, 5-year-old Samuel. To be clear, the boy is hypothetical, but the programmes and policies are real.

    Making Sports Accessible to All 
  23. Samuel and his family live in a HDB apartment, with an open-air hardcourt downstairs. Noticing his love for sports, Samuel’s parents consider a range of options for him to explore his interests:  Sports co-curricular activities (CCAs) in schools, ActiveSG programmes, private academies and clubs, as well as private coaching.
  24. Now the parents signed Samuel up for programmes run by ActiveSG Academies and Clubs, whose variety meant Samuel tried out different sports at a very young age. Samuel's parents gladly utilised ActiveSG credits that have been provided since 2014, not knowing that these credits probably helped raised sports participation amongst Singaporeans from 54% in 2015 to 74% in 2022. And this was driven by our belief that grassroots participation and high performance are not at odds. In fact, they go hand in hand as part of our sporting ecosystem.
  25. At Primary Four, Samuel’s teacher nominates him to go for the Junior Sports Academy (JSA) selection trials, a collaboration between MOE and the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI).1
  26. Under this programme, primary school students like Samuel with higher abilities in the physical domain try out different sports and identify where their talent and passions lie.  
  27. Samuel has lots of fun playing four different sports, and during the programme, he discovers his love for badminton.
  28. In the JSA programme, Samuel meets Syahbil and understands that Syahbil was exposed to sports through the SportCares Saturday Night Lights football programme, one of several programmes that provide bursaries for children that come from low-income families to learn a sport.
  29. Samuel is particularly inspired by Syahbil ashe also goes the extra mile to help others in need and give back actively by volunteering through SportCares.
  30. As their friendship develops, Samuel looks for opportunities to play badminton with Syahbil outside of school and outside of the JSA. Samuel looks forward to the upcoming sporting facilities that will be built around his neighbourhood.
  31. Based on the last 3 – 5 years, an average of $90 million is spent annually to develop and operate stadiums, running tracks, sports halls, pools, and other public facilities. Samuel is particularly excited about the Toa Payoh Integrated Development (TPID) because it is near home, and he knows there will be more badminton courts. He has high hopes for the facility as he had visited Bukit Canberra before, which featured facilities such as an indoor sports hall, swimming pools, gym, fitness studios, a hawker centre, and a polyclinic.
  32. Samuel has also heard from his friends about the Sport-in-Precinct facilities in Nee Soon Central, Woodlands and Gek Poh, as well as the rejuvenation works that were done to the Delta and Choa Chu Kang Sport Centres.
  33. For now Samuel is glad that the Dual-Use Scheme (DUS) is in place, because that means that there are 140 indoor sports halls and 100 school fields – roughly half of which are free, and are readily made available to the public. 

    Samuel as a Junior Athlete 
  34. Soon, PSLE looms ahead but Samuel is thrilled to join the Singapore Sports School (SSP) via the Direct School Admission (DSA). In Samuel’s mind, SSP is where he can pursue both sporting and academic excellence.
  35. Today, SSP has 10 academies such as Shooting, as well as individual programmes that accept students from other sports, such as Wushu. Past and present student-athletes have also performed well at Major Games and Championships. For instance, two-thirds of our athletes winning medals and 58% of debutants at the 2023 SEA Games were from the Sports School. They also accounted for about 30% of the medals and gold medals won by Team Singapore.
  36. On the academic front, SSP students had also done well. 67% of student-athletes scored at least 40 points out of the maximum 45 points for IB exams while more than 95% of the GCE ‘O’-level cohort qualified for junior college or polytechnic courses. SSP also take care of athletes’ life issues – for instance, providing Education and Counselling Guidance.
  37. Samuel’s friends have also shared with him about fellow SSP student-athlete, Fencer Juliet Heng who had done an excellent job of balancing her academic pursuits with her sporting ambitions.
  38. Like Samuel, Juliet came through the JSA in 2015, where she participated in four sports including Fencing. Juliet then took up SSP’s Learn-to-Fence programme in January 2017 and joined SSP’s fencing academy the year after.
  39. Progressing over the years, Juliet qualified for the Asian & World Cadets and Juniors Fencing Championships in 2021. She was youth-carded in 2022, placing her on the high-performance pathway as a junior athlete.
  40. As a result of her youth-carding, Juliet received funding support, which fully subsidised her participation in local and overseas competitions, and facilitated her development as an athlete.
  41. Juliet fenced her way to the Top 32 at the 2022 World Fencing Championships and quickly became a SpexScholar in 2023. At the recent SEA Games, Juliet became the first JSA graduate to win a Gold Medal in the Women’s Individual Sabre and also winning a Joint Bronze in the Women’s Team Sabre in her debut SEA Games outing – all while excelling in her studies and managing a GPA of 3.55 out of 4 in the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Sports School Diploma Program in Business Studies.
  42. As a spexScholar – Juliet received increased support, opening doors to greater opportunities, including partaking in more than 8 International Fencing Federation competitions and overseas training camps with other top-tier fencers, which contributed to her ascent in World Rankings.  
  43. Juliet was also provided comprehensive assistance, including tailored programmes in areas such as strength & conditioning, psychology, biomechanics, nutrition, and many other essential elements that contribute to her holistic growth as an athlete.

    Making the Transition to Senior Athlete
  44. Back to Samuel, who has since joined SSP – displaying several strong performances in youth-level competitions. However, he finds the transition from youth-level competitions to senior tournaments challenging.  
  45. Nevertheless, Samuel presses on – drawing encouragement from sport-climber Luke Goh who similarly recognised the difficulty of the youth-to-senior transition, where “everyone’s mindset and mentality just got more cutthroat and intense”.  But yet Luke scaled that transition to secure a bronze medal at the 2022 International Federation of Sport Climbing Asia Cup.
  46. Luke was also coincidentally one of the first youth athletes I had met when I first took on the role of Parl Sec MCCY. Luke’s steely resolve to shine in sport climbing even at a young age then left a deep impression in me, and he is a perfect example of how NYSI have been supporting emerging sports such as sport-climbing, BMX, and skateboarding.
  47. Fast forward a few years – Samuel has since graduated from SSP and has enlisted into NS (National Service). He is grateful that since 2023, spexScholars are allowed to retain their scholarship while serving national service, as well as having existing provisions to support the training and preparation of our national athletes, taking into account the specific circumstances of the athlete, his sport, and subject to the SAF’s and Home Team’s operational requirements.
  48. Samuel met TeamSG hurdler Ang Chen Xiang who had given him confidence to do well in both sports and National Service.
  49. It was challenging to say the least, having to manage training and competitions alongside heavy commitments as a medical officer in the 1st Commando Battalion.
  50. Yet Chen Xiang clinched the Silver Medal in the Men’s 110m Hurdles Final in the 31st SEA Games last year while serving NS. He continued to deliver a stunning performance at this year’s SEA Games after he ORD-ed, clinching a Gold Medal in the same event, the first Singaporean champion in the event since 1967.
  51. Chen Xiang credits his performance to his fellow medical officers who had covered his duties when he was away for competition. This gives Samuel quiet confidence that his colleagues will be equally supportive.
  52. Samuel has since ORD-ed, balancing university with his sporting ambitions and that has not been easy. Samuel is glad however that the spexEducation scheme helps him to juggle sports and education by supporting him in school admissions, scholarships, and scheduling his classes around training and competitions. The scheme has been made possible through agreements between SportSG and 16 partner Institutions of Higher Learning, and has benefitted more than 600 athletes since 2013.
  53. Samuel knows that he will soon need to balance his sporting pursuits not with studies, but with his work commitments.
  54. Nevertheless, Samuel is grateful that spexBusiness partners, including Grab, MOH Holdings and Nestle, hire around 390 athletes, which provides for flexible work arrangements to support their training and competition schedules.
  55. This is in addition to spexTAG, or Training Assistance Grant, which helps to defray athletes’ training cost; as well as spexGLOW, or Grant for Loss of Wages, which offsets lost wages sustained from missing work due to preparation or competition at the Major Games, that supports around 800 athletes.
  56. Samuel is also glad that he can train at the Singapore Sports Hub that has blossomed into a vibrant sporting and lifestyle precinct for athletes and the general community alike. National School Games Finals at the Sports Hub are now a common affair, and it warms Samuel’s heart to see inter-generational families spending their evenings and weekends enjoying community programmes at the Sports Hub.
  57. He also looks forward to competing for a medal at the Sports Hub in his maiden participation in the Singapore Badminton Open. A Super 750 event that has made Singapore one of the most prestigious spots on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour, only behind the World Tour Finals and the four Super 1000 tournaments.
  58. Samuel loves the challenge, and he knows he has home-ground support. 

    Samuel as an Aspiring Olympian 
  59. Years have passed since – Samuel is now an aspiring Olympian and receives a larger tranche of support as compared to when he was younger.
  60. This mirrors the support Shuttler Loh Kean Yew receives today, including annual grants that provides access including but not limited to Technical Directors and Coaches, National Training Centres, and tailored Sport Science and Sport Medicine support.
  61. After the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Kean Yew was invited to train with Viktor Axelsen in Dubai, and this played a pivotal role in Kean Yew winning the BWF World Champs in 2021. That and subsequent Dubai training camps were also funded by the spexScholarship programme.
  62. SSI’s Athlete Life Team also provided education counselling to Kean Yew when he was studying in Republic Polytechnic and when he decided to pursue badminton full-time.
  63. With the weight of the nation’s expectation on Samuel, he was slowly feeling the pressure. Social media were abuzz with scathing scrutiny of his performance. Online kerfuffle between loyal fans and naysayers fuelled unnecessary speculations and judgement, and that shook Samuel's morale.
  64. If only someone could share with Samuel that years before, Kean Yew experienced the same pressures. Earlier in June, I met Kean Yew at the side-lines of the Singapore Open. He had just exited in the second round but he was, as usual, looking cheery when I met him.
  65. After chatting with our shuttlers, I pulled Kean Yew aside. I checked in with him on his mental state and wellbeing, something I have always been concerned about. I spoke to Kean Yew again last night over the phone to seek his consent for my sharing in this Chamber.
  66. Because what was apparent to me from that conversation was that the weight of an entire nation’s expectations was squarely on this young man’s shoulders, and he was fully aware of that. Perhaps overly so. I raise this today in the hope that all of us can be that little bit more sensitive, that little bit more supportive.
  67. Athletes want to live up to fans’ expectations, but fans need to understand that athletes too are human. They have good days and bad. Let us not forget that it is not all just about medals. But rather, about journeying with our athletes, as they work through their daily struggles in realising their maximal potential.
  68. Back to our protagonist, Samuel. He perseveres. While the pressure overwhelms him at times, Samuel is encouraged by his fans. However, not all's a bed of roses. In the gripping quarterfinals against the World No. 3, Samuel eventually succumbs in his first Olympic endeavour.
  69. As Samuel marches to the back of house, holding back tears, his coach say to him, “Sport is not merely about the medals. It is about training to be the best version of yourself. You have done thatYou have done yourself and Singapore proud.”
  70. These words spur Samuel on as he starts again for the next Olympic cycle, his window to perform. Training is tough – but against all odds, Samuel prevails – winning a silver medal at the following Olympics. Remembering what Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan's wisdom, Samuel says in a post-match interview, "I didn't lose the gold, I won the silver."

    Hall of Fame
  71. Time flies and Samuel’s journey as an athlete is ending – we also note Ms Sylvia Lim’s proposal on post-retirement medical support. Thank you for that - and to give back to the sport and community, Samuel decides to take on coaching roles within the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) to nurture and inspire the next generation of shuttlers.
  72. Samuel’s legacy will not be forgotten. As a retired athlete who makes sustained contributions to the sport and the community after retirement, he has been nominated and would likely qualify for induction into the Singapore Sport Hall of Fame.
  73. He would join the ranks of almost 60 other athletes, including track superstar C Kunalan, bowler Remy Ong, swimmer Theresa Goh. Some of these retired athletes have in turn been invited to provide their views on Hall of Fame nominees.
  74. His coach too has been included in the Hall of Fame under the category for Sports Leaders that had been created to honour the contribution of sport administrators, coaches, and scientists, amongst others. 

    Our Robust HPS Philosophy/Ecosystem across Various Archetypes is Inclusive, including Para-athletes and Sports 
  75. With the Government’s review of the Sports Excellence or spex Framework, we hope that there will be more "Samuels" to come.
  76. One of these revisions was extending the spexScholarships in 2022 – beyond just athletes competing in Major Games to our very own indoor skydiving champion, Kyra Poh.
  77. We will also continue to facilitate and provide some access to gym facilities, sport psychologists as well as training and competition facilities for our athletes in emerging, new, and niche sports.
  78. As we continue to scale up support for our athletes, I would like to assure this House that the Government will do likewise for our current and next generation of para-athletes.
  79. Our para-athletes have been an inspiration to all of us, showing what it means to not be defined or constrained by physical limits. One such example is para-powerlifter Nur Aini, who at the 2017 ASEAN Para Games was the first Singaporean woman to compete in para-powerlifting. Across several Major Games, Aini made steady progress but was beset by an injury following the 2022 Paralympics. This injury required surgery, but Aini remained unfazed and persevered to compete in the 2022 Commonwealth GamesSince then, Aini has continued her steady ascent, making history at the recent ASEAN Para Games – winning Singapore’s first ever medals in Women’s para-powerlifting through her two bronze medals for the Women Up to 50kg in Best Lift and the Total Lift events. 
  80. We also have a dedicated team of SSI sport scientists who have been doggedly considering ways for our para-athletes to further maximise their potential. One example is Muhammad Diroy, who with the support of his coach and a SSI biomechanist, adopted a new individualised technique that enabled him to defend his Gold Medal at the ASEAN Para Games Men Shot Put event. 
  81. Aini and Diroy are just some examples of numerous para-athletes, or as I would prefer to say, athletes, who has represented Singapore.
  82. Each of these athletes empower Person with Disabilities to live better through sports, exemplifying how sport can reduce the stigma and discrimination sometimes associated with disability.
  83. That is why the Government has been and will continue to invest resources in promoting disability sports, and one key thrust to achieve this target is inclusive facilities. I am glad to share that SportSG has set-up eight inclusive ActiveSG gyms and are on track to make all 27 gyms inclusive by 2026.  
  84. I am also heartened that persons with disabilities’ participation in sport has increased from 30% in 2015 to 54% in 2022. And I assure Ms. He that this figure cited in the Enabling Masterplan is based on SportSG’s National Sports Participation Survey – they are fully aligned and accurate.
  85. The Government will continue to better support disability sports. This is why sport is one of our focal areas under the Enabling Masterplan, and why we embarked on an Update of the Disability Sports Master Plan (DSMP) and aim to share the results of our Update next year, as well as the next steps to make sports more inclusive. 

    Everyone has a Role to Play, not only Government 
  86. Even as the Government continues to support our athletes, I urge corporates and Members of this House to partner us. I spoke earlier about how it takes a village to raise an athlete – and I hope sincerely that as a nation, we can continue to grow this village. I thus urge that all of us to use our platforms to be cheerleaders for our athletes whether they win or lose.
  87. And I echo Mr. Mark Chay and Ms. Poh, who called on corporates to support our athletes and I would like to suggest two ways for corporates to help. 
  88. First, to support our athletes financially. This can be through donations to the One Team Singapore Fund (OTSF), which will support our athletes in enhancing their training environments and in increasing competition opportunities. One such beneficiary was the Singapore Floorball Association, who had used OTSF to subsidise the overseas training and competition costs. This exposed our floorball athletes to a higher level of international competitive floorball, where our Singapore Under-19 Men’s team participated in the 12th Men’s Under-19 World Floorball Championships in April this year. 
  89. Second, by joining the spexBusiness network to help support current and former TeamSG athletes in pursuing meaningful careers while balancing their sporting commitments.
  90. Mdm Deputy Speaker, I at this point thank all Members for their suggestions. As we have heard from Samuel’s story, many of these have already been implemented. Those not implemented may not be practical or does not really account for our context. But rest assured that we are always improving the system and welcome all Singaporeans to support us in this journey because this journey in creating sporting success needs partnerships.
  91. I would also like to take the time to respond to some of the points that have been raised.  

  92. On football, Goal 2034 is a project aimed at galvanising improvements to our football standards, at all levels, and paying particular attention to the base. This requires a whole of society approach, for all of us to get behind these efforts. We have outlined this approach on several occasions. 
  93. Do we want to qualify for the World Cup?  Every country serious about sports will want to aspire towards that. But it is more important for us to be focussed on building sustainable, long-lasting foundations to anchor our sporting aspirations, including football.  
  94. For the recent football friendlies against Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Kallang Alive Sport Management Co Pte Ltd (KASM) had also waived the venue rental fees for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), in addition to further subsidising third-party, pass-through costs incurred by FAS.   

    Sports Hub
  95. On Sports Hub, we have made various statements on the termination sum and I will not go into details on this. This is a motion on sports rather than PPP and let’s focus on that – in any case, as Member Associate Professor Jamus Lim had acknowledged, Minister Edwin Tong had already covered the takeover of the Sports Hub in detail during his Ministerial Statement last year. We went for a PPP due to the international private sector expertise we could tap on and the lack of upfront capital costs from the Government. And when our partners fell short – we made the decision to terminate and got a fair deal. This was also laid out in February this year.
  96. While it has only been a short period of time since we took back the Sports Hub in Dec 2022, many more community events have been lined up since. For the first time, we were able to organise large-scale community festivals at Sports Hub attracting more than 50,000 participants.
  97. We have also built a healthy pipeline of world-class sporting and entertainment events.Beside concerts, this includes marquee sports events such as the Rugby 7s, Singapore Smash, Singapore Badminton Open, FIBA Intercontinental Cup, and the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup.

    Emerging Sports
  98. On emerging sports, we need to make optimal use of our limited resources.
  99. Our priority, and hence our investment, is channelled to developing a sustained pipeline of athletes to represent our nation at elite competitions including Major Games.
  100. We are nevertheless looking at more ways to support athletes in new, emerging, and niche sports. 

  101. On broadcast, the broadcasting of sports competitions is a useful platform to promote the efforts of TeamSG athletes and drive greater support for TeamSG. We agree with that.
  102. MediaCorp broadcasts a range of sporting competitions and events on its free-to-air channels and MeWatch.
  103. But decisions related to sports broadcasting depends on several considerations, including timezone, media rights, and audience interest. So, I hope the Member who raised these points can appreciate these complexities. 

    Singapore’s sporting ecosystem is two-fold: (i) broaden participation and maximise individuals’ potential, and (ii) rally our communities together and foster national pride/cohesion.
  104. Madam, I reiterate my support for the amendments raised by Mr. Darryl David.
  105. When I started, I spoke about regular and consistent review and evaluation being part and parcel of our HPS ecosystem, regardless of this or any other motion.
  106. Our “goals in sport” will not solely be our medal count. Rather, ingredients that will allow us to build a successful HPS ecosystem. That includes:
  107. Broad access to sports – through community programmes and infrastructure, regardless of social-economic status. This is why we have SportCares programmes and have topped up $100 worth of ActiveSG credits for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 4 to 12. We will also continue to enhance access to sporting facilities through our Sports Facilities Master Plan (SFMP). 
  108. We will also continue to building a vibrant sporting culture – that is why took back the Sports Hub. Because we believed in its potential to drive community sports – in 2023, school events returned to the Sports Hub, including 42 National School Games Finals. We also aim to host more world-class sporting events, having added the FIBA Intercontinental Cup that will come to Asia for the very first time, to the already burgeoning list of marquee events including the Singapore Smash and Rugby Sevens that I had mentioned earlier. 
  109. Supporting our athletes and para-athletes to maximise their potential – by providing them with financial support as well as non-financial support including coaches, psychologists, and scientists, amongst others.
  110. But as a nation, all of us must rally behind our athletes, regardless whether they win or lose. Why we continue to invest in sport is because of its ability to rally communities together and foster national pride and cohesion. We must not lose sight of this.
  111. Take for example the Suzuki Cup semi-finals two years ago on Boxing Day – where our Lions lost the match to Indonesia while being three men down but won the hearts of all Singaporeans.
  112. The immense pride that we all felt, that I felt that night when Majulah Singapura filled the National Stadium – that is the power of sport. But it is only possible if we come together as a nation to support our athletes, regardless of outcome. No doubt, Singapore is a little red dot. But we have time and again, shown the world what we are made of.
  113. Madam, with that I stand in full support of the amended Motion raised by Mr. Daryl David.
Last updated on 07 July 2023