The importance of social inclusion through sport
Opening Remarks by Mr Eric Chua, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth & Social and Family Development, at the Play Inclusive 2020 Finale Event held at Toa Payoh Sports Hall
07 November 2020
Good morning distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
- Thank you very much for being a part in this year’s Play Inclusive, whether you are joining us virtually or physically here at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall. We welcome all of you this morning.
- We started Play Inclusive in 2018 to bring together athletes of all abilities. This year, we have included a virtual format for the first time because of the pandemic.
- Your support today not only shows our common love of sports, but more importantly, our commitment to carry on with life – with safe management measures in place – in spite of COVID-19.
Importance of inclusivity
- I believe that if we allow our youths, young people like yourselves, to be themselves, they will always surprise us with their creativity. Throughout the eight weeks of online training sessions, the athletes and partners continued to play, learn, and stay active together.
- For instance, students from Casuarina Primary School and Metta School created their own unique dance routine. Every student and teacher contributed one dance step towards this one-of-a-kind dance routine.
- Many friendships have blossomed during the training sessions, too. Let me give another example. Students from Lee Kong Chian Gardens School (or LGS) partnered students from Queenstown Secondary School for the Cha-Cha Plank fitness challenge. The thoughtful students from Queenstown realised that the steps for the entire challenge might be difficult for their LGS friends.
- This posed challenges since training sessions were conducted online and physical guidance could not be possible. Overcoming this limitation, the Queenstown students broke down the steps into bite-sized routines. LGS students showed their sportsmanship and mastered all the steps of the challenge in the end. Well done, LGS and Queenstown Secondary!
- Even as we battle the pandemic, our care for those amongst us who are differently-abled does not have to stop. We can and must continue doing our part to make Singapore a caring and inclusive home.
- Sport is a great way to connect people. When Team Singapore wins a medal, we all cheer as one. The same affinity happens when strangers talk about their favourite soccer teams.
- Event organisers can consider customising sporting events to be more inclusive and provide safe environments for athletes of all levels and abilities. By playing inclusive, our shared experiences as a society will become much stronger, richer, and the artificial barriers between persons with disability and the larger community melts away. As the athletes have shown us today, disability is not inability.
- To everyone, I encourage you to give back to society, regardless of your level of proficiency or age.
- Those who are interested may approach SportCares staff to volunteer. For instance, you can be Sports Buddies to people with special needs. A Sports Buddy is someone who assists badminton coaches to maintain the field of play and plays with the participants.
- If you prefer running, I do enjoy running myself, there is a sports co-operative called Runninghour. Passionate runners can join as running guides for special needs participants while sharing their joy of running.
- Before I end my opening remarks, let us show our appreciation to all the school principals, PE teachers and school leaders for their continued support for Play Inclusive this year. Let’s give them a round of applause, even though they may not be physically present today.
- I would also like to thank Special Olympics Singapore, MOE Special Education Branch and SportCares for re-designing Play Inclusive 2020 to take on a virtual format. They also made sure that there was quality online sports content for everyone of varying abilities. The fitness videos were easy to follow and
well-liked by all.
- Last but not least, Play Inclusive 2020 is made possible only because of each and every one of you - the participants, volunteers and partners. I hope you will treasure and nurture this special connection. On this note, thank you, and have a great day ahead!
Last updated on 11 November 2020