School sports: National School Games 2016 kicks off with opening ceremony at Sports Hub

Taekwondo exponents performing during the opening ceremony of the 2016 National School Games, at the OCBC Arena on Jan 28, 2016.
Taekwondo exponents performing during the opening ceremony of the 2016 National School Games, at the OCBC Arena on Jan 28, 2016. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Student-athletes participating in the opening ceremony of the 2016 National School Games, at the OCBC Arena on Jan 28, 2016.
Student-athletes participating in the opening ceremony of the 2016 National School Games, at the OCBC Arena on Jan 28, 2016. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary (second from right) lighting the cauldron with torch bearers Almanda Mik (right) and Eric Yee, on Jan 28, 2016.
Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary (second from right) lighting the cauldron with torch bearers Almanda Mik (right) and Eric Yee, on Jan 28, 2016. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The National School Games (NSG), Singapore's annual inter-school sports competition, has officially kicked off with a new buzz surrounding it, as the opening ceremony was held for the first time at the Singapore Sports Hub.

With more than 1,000 students, parents, officials, and teachers present at OCBC Arena on Thursday afternoon, the new school sports season was launched by Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information, Janil Puthucheary.

In his speech, Dr Puthucheary urged the students to enjoy the experience of playing at the Hub. He said: "We are holding the opening ceremony and some games here, so that all of you can have a sense of your Sports Hub. We hope you enjoy it here and make it your space."

A highlight of this school sports season will be the chance to compete at the Hub. There are also plans for the 35ha venue to host the Schools National track and field meet.

Dr Puthucheary said: "This year, some of the school games that will be held here are badminton, netball, swimming and water polo."

Dr Puthucheary lit the NSG cauldron together with student torch bearers, St Anthony Canossian Primary pupil Almanda Mik, a taekwondo exponent, and Hwa Chong Institution track and field athlete Eric Yee.

Following the opening ceremony, 784 student athletes across five sports - Badminton, basketball, netball, table tennis and volleyball - competed in the preliminary rounds of their respective competitions at OCBC Arena's halls.

The preliminary rounds of the competitions have already begun for high-participation sports like basketball, badminton, football, netball, softball, table tennis, tennis and volleyball.

This year, the NSG will run until Aug 31, and involves an estimated 55,000 students from primary and secondary schools, junior colleges and centralised institute across 29 sports.

The first schools national champion is expected to be crowned on Feb 19, when the B division tennis finals are scheduled to take place.

The season will conclude with the C girls football and the C boys and girls floorball finals on Aug 31.