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     Previous FrontPage Edition 24 Jul 2005

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Easier to enter the Sports School from 2006

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SPEECH BY DR VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN,MINISTER FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, YOUTH AND SPORTS AND 2ND MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY, AT THE SINGAPORE SPORTS SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE, 23 JULY 2005, 2.45 PM AT SINGAPORE SPORTS SCHOOL

MCYS SPEECH NO: 40/2005
DATE OF ISSUE: 23/07/2005

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Source: www.gov.sg

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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 dream.

 

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 Singapore.

 

3                                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 today.

           

(a)       First, 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 important. Our 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 requirements respectively.

 

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.

Source: www.gov.sg Media Release 23 Jul 2005

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