Young athletes, Parents
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am pleased to see so many eager and enthusiastic young
faces at the Singapore Sports School Open House today. It is also
good to see many parents here. Your presence today demonstrates your
strong commitment to helping your child realise his or her sporting
2 It is precisely this dream - encapsulated in the school¡¯s
tagline - ¡°Ordinary Today, Sports Heroes Tomorrow¡± - which drives
and inspires the students, their parents, management and staff of
the Sports School. This common sense of purpose and partnership is
what we need to take us to a new era of sporting excellence in
Since its opening last year, the Sports School¡¯s students
have already started to make an impact on the local sporting scene.
This December, several of them will represent Singapore at the
South-east Asian Games in Manila. Mylene Ong is the national 200m
freestyle champion and has broken the under-14 50m butterfly record
twice since joining the School. And at 14 years old, she has
already qualified for December¡¯s SEA Games. Sprinter Valerie Pereira
broke Chee Swee Lee¡¯s 1972 national Under-17 400m record this year.
She also broke the national under-17 200m record twice. She is the
youngest member, at 15, in the pre-SEA Games training squad. Mylene
and Valerie are just two of the many inspiring students at the
School. They capture the spirit of sportmanship beautifully. It¡¯s
all about achieving your personal best. Passion, drive and
determination will see you through.
4 The Singapore Sports Schools aims to provide rich
opportunities for talented young people like Mylene and Valerie to
hone their diverse talents and realise their potential. We want them
to be able to pursue both sports and academic excellence, without
having to sacrifice one for the other. A comprehensive yet flexible
programme has therefore been put in place to support them.
5 Mr Moo, Principal of the Sports School, is a veteran
educator who is a truly passionate about the value of sports. I have
observed the attitude and hard work that his staff, and can vouch
that your children will be in very good hands.
6 Like its athletes, the Sports School constantly
challenges itself in the pursuit of excellence. In the past one and
a half years, Mr Moo and his team have created more opportunities to
nurture young, talented athletes with innovative linkages with the
Nanyang Technological University, Republic Polytechnic, Innova
Junior College, Christchurch Secondary, and Auckland University of
Technology. These changes are designed to give our sportsmen more
choices and opportunities in the future. Pursuant to this, I am glad
to announce further policy changes affecting the Sports School
the Sports School will admit all students with high sporting
potential regardless of their academic ability. This will take
effect from 2006.
(b) Second, the doors will also be open to promising athletes
who do not practise the current eight sports offered by the school
but wish to reside and learn within its premises. This will further
deepen the athlete network, and allow the School to grow into a
¡°True Sports School¡±.
(c) Third, we have aligned the foreign student quota for the
Sports School with that of mainstream MOE schools. Going forward,
foreign students can take up to 20% of the places in the Sports
School. Those admitted must satisfy the same criteria of high
sporting potential as a local student. But Singaporeans will be
given priority. No Singaporean student with high sporting potential
will be deprived of a place at the Sports School.
(d) Fourth, it is our intention for
young foreign athletes currently training with our National Sports
Associations (or NSAs) to be offered accommodation, education and
training at the Sports School. The Singapore Badminton Association
and the Singapore Table Tennis Association will be among the first
NSAs to take up this scheme.
Foreign students add to the diversity of a school and help build up
a culture of sporting excellence. They also make strong sparring
partners for our local student athletes. These young foreign
athletes, who are likely to become citizens and join our national
team, will also have an opportunity to integrate with their
Singaporean peers and build life-long friendships at the School.
7 These are significant developments not just for the
School and its students, but for our overall education landscape.
The Sports School will allow talented athletes to reach the pinnacle
of their sporting potential. At the same time, the unique and
valuable experience of competitive sports at the highest levels will
nurture well-rounded young individuals.
Developing character and deriving a sense of purpose in life are
local tertiary institutions recognise this as well. Republic
Polytechnic and Nanyang Technological University are therefore
prepared to accept Sports School students, waiving ¡®O¡¯ and ¡®A¡¯ level
8 The Police Sports Association and Manulife Financial also
share our vision in nurturing Singapore¡¯s sporting talents. Police
Sports Association will be awarding 3 study awards, worth a total of
$36,000 to promising student athletes who come from financially
needy backgrounds. These awards, worth $3,000 per year per student,
will help these students pay their school fees. Manulife Financial,
a worldwide sponsor of the Olympics, will mark its first involvement
in Singapore sports by offering 4 scholarships worth $12,000 each to
Sports School students.
9 I thank our partners for their confidence in our student
athletes. I also urge students of the sports school to live up to
the faith and belief that your parents, teachers, sponsors and the
community have in you.
10 More than 1,200 young, budding athletes have already
signed up for the Sports School¡¯s selection trials. This is just one
step along your journey of self-discovery and personal excellence. I
encourage all of you to dream big and work hard at it. I wish you
all the best in your try-outs. Thank you.