- A very good morning to everyone.
- We are gathered here today for the inaugural Singapore Sport and Performance Conference. Before I begin, I would like to first extend a warm welcome to our guest speakers from overseas, who have travelled a long way to share their expertise and experiences with us.
Objectives of Conference
- The inaugural Singapore Sport and Performance Conference marks our efforts to bring stakeholders together to spark conversations and share perspectives on the challenges we all face in sport, from the foundational to the high performance stages, and from the perennial to the emerging issues that we all see in the ecosystem today. This conference will provide participants with insights on leading-edge sport science and best practices, and together we can explore how we can adapt them in our local context. These lessons learnt will help to strengthen the impact that coaches, sports scientists, and sports leaders can really bring across the different development pathways for our athletes in Singapore.
- I understand this is the first time that the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI), National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI) and CoachSG have come together to jointly organise a conference on sport and performance. This builds on the successes of past conferences that were run separately – for example, the biennial Singapore Sport Science Symposium run by SSI and NYSI, and the annual CoachSG conference. By coming together to run this conference, all three parties have demonstrated a strong and shared ambition to forge a network of sports experts to build up professional and technical knowledge.
- Under this year’s theme “From Youth to Elite Sport: Harnessing Potential and the Pursuit of Excellence”, the organisers have lined up a series of sessions that will touch on the topics of:
a.Inclusiveness for a diversity of athletic talent
b.Frameworks to build athlete development pathways
c.Advances in applied sport science and technology to enhance athlete performance, and
d.Climate change and its impact on training.
- These are all pertinent and important issues that we need to look at. With the range of content on offer, I am sure that you will find the conference to be a diverse and insightful experience over the next few days.
Team Singapore's Recent Successes
The sport ecosystem in Singapore has grown from strength to strength over the past years. Our sport participation levels have remained strong, providing us a pipeline of talent to nurture new generations of athletes. Breakthrough performances in major sporting events this year have provided some indication of success for our high-performance sport ecosystem. Let me quote a few examples:
a. At the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi in May, Singapore returned home with 47 Gold, 44 Silver and 70 Bronze medals. Out of the 161 medals won, 61 were clinched by debutants, which included two of Team Singapore’s youngest members – 14-year-old fencer Elle Koh as well as 14-year-old diver Max Lee. The young ones are really doing our nation proud.
b. At the Commonwealth Games a few months later in Birmingham, Singapore qualified for the 4x100m Athletics Men’s final for the first time ever in our sporting history. Our shuttlers brought home many medals, including our first Badminton Mixed Doubles Gold. We also witnessed a credible showing by our young paddlers – some as young as 16 – and they have done very well in their respective Men’s and Women’s Table Tennis event. They also went on to do well at the World Team Championships.
Supporting our Athletes to Achieve their Aspirations
We have had some showing of success but to really build on our continued success, we need to further strengthen our sport pathways, in particular the athlete transition from youth to senior levels. This means reinforcing partnerships between our key stakeholders, which are our National Sports Associations, the Singapore Sports School, MOE Schools, ActiveSG Academies and Clubs, and private academies in the ecosystem.
Besides partnerships, coaches are an essential ingredient in our sporting success, given the critical roles they play as trainers, tacticians, friends, mentors, and role models for our athletes. Their efforts go beyond the realm of high performance and they put our athletes on the world map – coaches have the power to spark new passions and shoulder the responsibility of inculcating lifelong values of commitment, perseverance, integrity, and teamwork.
Having spoken to many of the coaches, PE teachers, administrators, sports scientists and parents in the audience here today, I know that you are guided by sporting excellence as a higher calling. Each one of you play a vital role in the development of our athletes and our community, in and beyond sports. In this respect, I look forward to working with you in our bid to have Singapore punch above our weight at the international sporting arena.
On that note, I want to thank all of you for making time to be here for these few days, and I hope that this Conference will allow you to hone your professional abilities, pick up new knowledge, make new friends and networks, and inspire you to try something different in your own pursuit of excellence.
I wish you a fruitful conference ahead! Thank you.