Top-up, if approved, will swell $5m athletes’ training-support fund
THE government is likely to boost the $5 million war chest for Singapore’s 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) athletes, after the country’s stellar performance at the recent Asian Youth Games (AYG). The cash top-up, if approved, will be used for training support and overseas opportunities for athletes who are in the running for a YOG spot next year. Singapore finished the inaugural AYG with a better-than-expected haul of 30 medals, including nine golds. And Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports) Teo Ser Luck said that those who excelled deserve extra help. “Their fighting spirit and their will to win was very impressive,” he told The Straits Times yesterday. “A lot of them have potential to do well at the YOG, and I think we should give them all the support they need to do their best.” He did not reveal figures, saying the proposal to increase funding is still subject to approval by the Singapore Youth Sports Development Committee. The committee, jointly set up by the MCYS and the Ministry of Education last September, is expected to meet this week to discuss the increment. In April, it announced that it would spend $15 million to support youth sports development initiatives – of which $5 million would be allocated to YOG athletes. About $2.6 million has been disbursed to the national sports associations (NSAs) in charge of grooming athletes for all 26 sports at next year’s YOG. Last month, each NSA received $100,000 to fund such training programmes. The added funds, said Mr Teo, will be made available to selected NSAs who have submitted “good plans” and athletes who have “good potential”. Even those who did not win medals at the AYG, or those whose sports did not feature at the Games, stand a chance of getting more. He said: “It’s not just about medals, but how they have performed at the AYG and in other competitions outside of Singapore.” The Football Association of Singapore (FAS), whose team impressed at the AYG despite not winning any medals, welcomed the news. It has plans for about 20 friendly matches, including overseas stints. “We are delighted that there will be more funding for athletes and teams preparing for the YOG next year,” said an FAS spokesman. “With these additional financial resources, we will be able to send our team to Asia and Europe for training and tournaments. “These are among our initiatives to expose our players to higher levels of training and competition.”