Supporting multiple pathways to high performance sports and optimising athletes’ performance through Sport Science
Opening Remarks by Mr Eric Chua, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth & Social and Family Development, at the Singapore Sport Science Symposium
02 November 2020
Members of the Association of Sports Institute Asia
Participants of the Sport Science Symposium,
- A very good morning to all of you. I am very delighted to join you today for the 2020 Sport Science Symposium.
- The theme this year is “From Youth to Elite”. This is a topic close to my heart, as I strongly believe in supporting the aspirations of our youth athletes, many of whom dream of carrying our flag on their backs from a podium stand. This Symposium will touch on the various pathways that our youth athletes can take to achieve high performance success, and how the Singapore Sport Institute (SSI) and the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI) are helping our athletes pursue sporting excellence by harnessing sports science. Let me share my views on both topics.
Creating an environment for our youths to achieve their sporting aspirations
- There are many pathways our youths can take to achieve their sporting aspirations. Some youths stick to a sport and excel in it from a very young age. Others enjoy learning new sports and take a longer time to realise their strengths and aptitudes.
- Take table tennis player Koen Pang for example. He is a youth athlete who has been on a linear sports pathway, training in the sport since he was 10. He went on to represent Singapore at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and was also the first Singaporean to reach No. 1 in the world Under-18 rankings in 2019. At last week’s Singapore Sports Awards 2020, Koen also bagged the Sportsboy of the Year Award and the Sportsboy Team of the Year Award with teammate Josh Chua.
- Martina Veloso took a very different path and is an example how an athlete moves on a non-linear pathway. In primary school, she had exposure to multiple sports before specialising in shooting at the Singapore Sports School. Asian Games medallist Constance Lien, who was also recognised with the Meritorious Award at the Singapore Sports Awards, is another example of an athlete who moved on a non-linear pathway. She swam competitively at the Singapore Sports School before switching to Brazilian ju-jitsu.
- Now, these are just a few examples of the many different pathways our youths may discover and take to reach their sporting aspirations. To give our youths a better chance to reach elite performance, we must continue to create an environment where youths on different pathways can find their way towards sporting success.
- In that vein, it is very heartening to know that NYSI is supporting non-linear pathways, such as through collaborating with the Ministry of Education (MOE) on the Junior Sports Academy to give primary school students the opportunity to learn four sports over two years.
- Now, the Singapore Sports School also takes in students with multi-sports background, and older student-athletes also who demonstrate talent and passion in another sport are also given the opportunity to develop in new sports.
- MCCY and SportSG are committed to forging stronger partnerships with our sport stakeholders to build an ecosystem that encourages and supports the different pathways to high performance sports. These stakeholders include the National Sports Associations (NSAs), the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), schools, ActiveSG, private academies and clubs, coaches, athletes and parents. Beyond strengthening athlete development pathways within each sport, I urge all of you to think about how we can continue to create more opportunities for movement between sports and how we can build an environment where our athletes can reach their fullest potential.
Supporting our athletes for the Olympics through Sport Science
- Next year, the Major Games could make their return to our sporting calendars. In the meantime, our athletes have adapted and continued to train very hard. The sport scientists at SSI have also been playing an important role in helping our athletes become stronger, better, and faster even as training schedules have been impacted.
- During the Circuit Breaker, SSI sport scientists across five sport science disciplines – Biomechanics, Nutrition, Physiology, Strength & Conditioning, and Psychology – held live engagement sessions to help athletes train at home and loaned strength training equipment for athletes to use.
- The team of sport psychologists at SSI have also been looking into the mental well-being of athletes as they cope with the frustration and disappointment over the postponement of the Major Games. This includes webinars for athletes, parents and coaches on the importance of mental well-being in achieving sporting excellence.
- Our sport scientists have also been helping our athletes optimise their performance through leading-edge science, and performance testing, as well as monitoring. For instance, SSI developed tailored training sessions with the use of biomechanics tools to help Team Singapore para swimmer Yip Pin Xiu increase her range of motion and distance per stroke. The team is also looking to introduce an integrated speedometer with video cameras to improve Pin Xiu’s performance as she prepares for the next Paralympic Games.
- Our athletes deserve the best training resources and support during these challenging times so that they can be laser focused on achieving their goals at the Major Games. I encourage all of you to use this Symposium as an opportunity to share and exchange knowledge about how sports science can take our athletes to the next bound.
- Now to close, I would like to thank all of you here today – SSI, NYSI, our sport scientists, NSAs, coaches – all of you, for your hard work in developing our youths into elite athletes. Your contributions to our nation’s sporting excellence are valued, and I hope that you can continue to support our athletes as they train and bring glory to Singapore.
- So on this note, I thank all of you and I wish you a fruitful four days of learning!
Last updated on 02 November 2020