Singapore schools gear up for national and regional meets

Minister of State for Education Dr Janil Puthucheary, with the help of Sembawang Primary School's Ricqiey Dannyall and Singapore Sports School's Crystal Wong (in red) lighting the NSG cauldron to mark the Games' opening.
Minister of State for Education Dr Janil Puthucheary, with the help of Sembawang Primary School's Ricqiey Dannyall and Singapore Sports School's Crystal Wong (in red) lighting the NSG cauldron to mark the Games' opening.PHOTO: MOE

It promises to be a busy year for Singapore's student athletes with the country set to host the Asean Schools Games (ASG) in addition to the annual National School Games (NSG).

The 9th ASG will be held from July 14-20 and the week-long competition will feature 10 sports: badminton, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, netball, sepak takraw, bowling, swimming, athletics and table tennis.

Singapore last hosted the ASG in 2011 and are expected to field a contingent of about 200 athletes.

In his speech at yesterday's opening ceremony of the 2017 NSG held at the OCBC Arena, Minister of State for Education Dr Janil Puthucheary said: "This is an opportunity to strengthen the Singapore spirit, build our sense of belonging, and contribute to Singapore's success at hosting and competing at the games.

"It is also a chance to show our Asean counterparts our social unity, our values, our work ethics, and tell them our stories."

At the 2016 edition of the ASG in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which drew more than 1,000 participants from eight regional countries, Singapore finished fourth place with 13 golds, 14 silvers and 30 bronzes.

The number of countries and total number of athletes for this year's ASG will be confirmed in March.

The NSG, meanwhile, is the country's biggest inter-school sports competition, involving 12 per cent of the entire local student population. This year's edition, which features 29 sports, started on Jan 9 and runs until Aug 30.

It will involve about 57,000 student athletes from more than 365 schools.

Sports like badminton, netball and volleyball have already begun and for athletes like netballer Claudia Yip, 15, the NSG offered an excellent foundation for personal growth.

The CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) captain said: "One of the key things sport teaches us is cooperation and teamwork.

"Without those, it's very hard to succeed. And also patience with your team-mates and working together to achieve your goals."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore schools gear up for national and regional meets'. Print Edition | Subscribe