High performance system will continually evolve to stay relevant to elite athletes' needs: MCCY Minister Grace Fu

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (left) with Singapore's paralympians during the One Team Singapore Celebratory Parade at Vivocity on Sept 24, 2016.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (left) with Singapore's paralympians during the One Team Singapore Celebratory Parade at Vivocity on Sept 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - The nation's High Performance Sports (HPS) system has evolved over the years and will continue to do so in order to ensure the changing needs of Singapore's top athletes.

This is especially so after a historic Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu on Friday.

She said: "This is the kind of discussion we have year after year, asking ourselves, 'Are we doing right, is the fund allocation correct?', and the ministry will continue to do so.

"We will not ever say, 'Yes, this is right.' It will (be reviewed) every year, even as we lay down the big anchors, big pieces (of the puzzles) and every year there will be some adjustment and fine-tuning going on.

"All these medals and records inform us about the system out there and there will definitely be a lot of thinking and soul-searching over the next few months."

Ms Fu met members of the media at the Singapore Sports Hub to share insights into the national high performance sports system, following a Rio Games where the Republic won its first Olympic gold, as well as two golds and a bronze at the Paralympic Games.

The HPS has a multi-prong approach, supporting sports and athletes through avenues such as grants, sports science and medicine, and stipends.

More than 1,500 athletes - both able-bodied and disabled - across about 50 sports come under the scheme, which caters to varying levels of competitiveness.

Of these, 72 are under the spexScholarship, reserved for elite athletes identified as having the talent and potential to perform at the Asian, world and Olympic levels.

The scholarship was introduced in 2013 to the tune of $40 million over five years, supporting athletes such as Olympic champion Joseph Schooling and Paralympic champion Yip Pin Xiu.

Added SportSingapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin, who was also at the briefing: "(There is a) need to continuously enhance, check the effectiveness of what we're doing and the return on investment of what we're getting from what we invest, to conduct a more thorough review post-Rio when we look forward to Tokyo 2020 and for the next round of scholarships."