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Holistic support and environment for Sports School student-athletes to achieve excellence

Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, at the Singapore Sports School Awards Night

25 January 2018

Ms Yeoh Chee Yan

Chairperson of the Singapore Sports School and Permanent

Secretary, Ministry of Culture Community and Youth 

Mr Tan Teck Hock

Principal of the Singapore Sports School

Colleagues from Singapore Sports School, Ministry of Education,

Sport Singapore and the National Sports Associations 

Athletes and parents

Ladies and gentlemen    

1. Good evening. I am delighted to join you this evening at the Singapore Sports School Awards Night 2018.  

Congratulating the Sports School for its achievements in sport and academics

2. Let me begin by extending my heartiest congratulations to all award recipients. I hope that the awards will spur you on to achieve even greater heights in sport and academics.

3. 2017 was an excellent year for Team Singapore. One of Team Singapore’s achievements was our best ever away SEA Games result in Kuala Lumpur. Together with the School’s alumni, our Sports School athletes contributed about 1/3 of the total SEA Games medal haul of 188.  This is a fantastic achievement.   I would like to congratulate all participants at the Games, from seasoned competitors to debutants – you have done Singapore proud! Congratulations!

4. There were many Sports School athletes who excelled at the 2017 SEA Games. For example, fencer Amita Berthier, a recipient of the Sports School Admission Scholarship, made her Games debut and won the Women’s Foil gold medal on her first attempt. Amita’s success did not come easy; in 2016, she suffered the blow of her father’s sudden passing. In spite of this, she showed tremendous resilience and continued to push on. Amita is now based in the US and I’m sure she’ll continue to do well, both in her studies and in fencing.

5. Another Sports School student-athlete who excelled at the SEA Games was synchronised swimmer Debbie Soh. She not only won Singapore’s first gold medal at the 2017 SEA Games, she also achieved Singapore’s first-ever gold medal in a solo event for synchronised swimming at the SEA Games. Her eventual medal haul of 3 Golds and 2 Silvers is a remarkable feat, more so for a 19-year old!

6. As mentioned earlier by Mr Tan, our Men’s Bowling team also made history at the SEA Games, winning Singapore’s first gold in 22 years. 5 out of the 6 team members – Basil Ng, Darren Ong, Keith Saw, Muhammad Jaris and Timothy Tham - were Sport School’s student athletes, past and present. 

7.  To the student-athletes here today, I hope these stories inspire you to be bold and determined in your sporting pursuits. We look forward to seeing you wear the Singapore flag on your chest and doing us proud on the world podium one day.

8.  On the academic front, the school’s IBDP, O-Level and N- Level student-athletes have performed well, and I join all of you in celebrating their achievements. The O- and N-Level studentathletes have done the School proud, achieving pass rates significantly higher than the national average.  Well done also to the 20 IBDP student-athletes, most of whom scored 40 points and above, out of a maximum of 45. In particular, Adlan Syaddad (Track and Field), James Lowe (Bowling), and Tan Zay Hua (Netball) all achieved the top score of 43 points. I understand that Zay Hua was already a member of Singapore’s Under-21 Netball squad when she picked up Cricket at the beginning of 2017, before going on to compete at the 2017 SEA Games as part of the women’s Cricket team! 

9.  These stellar results are testament that the Sports School provides a conducive environment for all to excel in sports and studies.  The school provides students with multiple academic pathways, ranging from the IBDP, to ITE, Polytechnic and University programmes, and supports them with a range of scholarships and bursaries so that deserving young athletes are given the opportunity to benefit from the School’s unique education experience. 

10. I understand that Debbie, for example, has benefitted from the extended IBDP, which gives student-athletes up to 4 years to complete the programme.  This has allowed Debbie to balance her academic demands and her sporting goals, which resulted in her strong showing at the recent SEA Games.  Muhammad Jaris, my resident in Jurong, Captain of the national Men’s Bowling Team, is another example: in 2011, he graduated as an N-Level student from the Sports School and went on to ITE College West, where he excelled as the top student in the NITEC in Fitness Training. Jaris is currently taking the customised Diploma in Sports & Leisure Management, offered by Republic Polytechnic in collaboration with the Sports School. I was told that he aims to return to the Sports School and contribute as a staff to develop the next generation of athletes. I think this is the best testament to the education offered by the Sports School, and I wish him all the best as he pursues his goals and picks up a few more world medals along the way. 

Value-adding: Learned Champions with Character

11. The diverse make-up of the Sports School is a source of strength, and provides valuable opportunities to learn from one another.  Among you, there are students of various ethnicities and backgrounds.  An interesting fact I came across was that this year’s cohort of 106 Secondary 1 students hail from 62 Primary Schools, with PSLE scores ranging from below 140 to 262.  The students may have different backgrounds, but they are united in their pursuit of sporting excellence and a common Sports School education. 

12. The Sports School education is more than sport and academics. It is about developing “Learned Champions with Character”.  The School has a Character and Citizenship Education Programme, that encompasses national education, leadership development and career guidance.  Secondary 1, 2 and 3 students have the opportunity to attend Outward Bound Camps, lasting 3, 5, and 9 days respectively, where students from the different Sports Academies interact with one another.

13. In your time at the Sports School, I encourage you to make the most of these opportunities to build meaningful friendships, give back to the community, and develop as well-rounded young men and women, strong physically and mentally, guided by a good set of values. 

Recognising the importance of partnerships in the success of the Sports School

14. Many partners play important roles in the success of the Sports School. But perhaps one of the most important are the staff of the school. Whether you are involved with the sports, academic, corporate or boarding departments, you have played a crucial role in the success of the School and the students. I want to thank each and every one of you for your tireless efforts. A special acknowledgement of the parents for supporting your child on this sporting and academic journey. The making of a champion requires steadfast support from you and we hope to walk this journey with your commitment, even after they have graduated from the Sports School. 

 

15. I would also like to acknowledge the partners from the sporting fraternity, such as the Singapore Sports Institute, National Youth Sports Institute, National Sports Associations, sponsors and other educational institutions. Just today, the School signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) for STTA’s North Zone Training Centre to be based here at the School.  This is just one example of the many partnerships that have enabled the School to deliver quality sports and academic programmes to its student-athletes and drive sports excellence in Singapore.  

Looking forward to the 2018 Major Games

16. 2018 will be another exciting year for the Sports School as we look forward to the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, as well as the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires.   I would like to call on the Sports School team to strive hard and aim for better outcomes. We look forward to cheering you on as you fly Singapore’s flag high.

17. Once again, my warmest congratulations to all award recipients, and best wishes to all student-athletes in the year ahead. I wish everyone an enjoyable evening!  Thank you. 

 
Last Updated: 29 January 2018

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