Youth facility spreads wings

Ting Wai Piew, 15; Tan Shi Ni, 21; Choo Jie Ying, 17; and Mira Ruzana Seherzan, 15, chatting with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the launch of NYSI Satellite@ Kallang.
Ting Wai Piew, 15; Tan Shi Ni, 21; Choo Jie Ying, 17; and Mira Ruzana Seherzan, 15, chatting with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the launch of NYSI Satellite@ Kallang.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Sports institute opens Kallang venue to give student-athletes space for study, interaction

Less than a year after opening its doors at the Singapore Sports School (SSP), the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI) has expanded its operations to ensure that national student-athletes receive greater support.

The NYSI Satellite@Kallang was launched yesterday and the 10,000 sq feet space at Kallang Theatre boasts a host of features specifically catering to youth hoping to pursue a career in sport.

It includes workshop and mini-conference areas; remote classrooms; a rest and recovery corner with 12 nap pods; a functional gym for youth-specific strength and conditioning programmes; and a physiotherapy and injury management facility.

While most of the high performance and sport science facilities are located at the NYSI headquarters in Woodlands, the centrally-located Kallang site was equally important in developing an eco-system for Singapore sport, noted NYSI director Tan Wearn Haw.

He added: "We wanted a space where the young athletes, many of whom have double training sessions, can come and rest properly.

"They can do their schoolwork in a conducive environment and also interact with fellow youth athletes from different sports. That's crucial in fostering a bond and hopefully they can inspire each other."

The Kallang venue will open weekly from Monday to Friday and half-days on Saturdays. It is targeting about 150-200 visitors daily, almost double what the nearby Singapore Sport Institute at the Singapore Sports Hub handles.

Said national Under-15 water polo player Ting Wai Piew: "The SSI is great but sometimes it's a bit intimidating to hang out with our seniors. This is our own space and it's easier to make friends and form a bond with other youth athletes."

The NYSI was created last November after a year-long review. The facility at SSP has welcomed more than 1,000 youth athletes since January. Many are SSP's students, student-athletes who train there, and all carded athletes aged 12 to 18.

Guest-of-honour and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said the goal was to create more opportunities for local athletes to get onto podiums and realise their sporting dreams.

She added: "The NYSI is filling a very important gap, bringing our talent development pipeline down the age group... it's very important to give our athletes as early a chance at development as possible."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2016, with the headline 'Youth facility spreads wings'. Print Edition | Subscribe